Polish International 2021: India’s Kiran George wins singles title, Ishaan Bhatnagar-Sai Pratheek clinch doubles

The Indian badminton players clean swept the men's events in Poland. The women, however, fell short in the finals in their respective categories.

By Ubaid Parker

India’s Kiran George and the duo of Ishaan Bhatnagar and Sai Pratheek K won the men's singles and doubles badminton titles, respectively, at the Polish International 2021 in Zakopane on Sunday.

Kiran George, world No. 101, beat the 259th-ranked Jason Teh Jia Heng of Singapore 13-21, 21-14, 21-13 in the final which lasted 21 minutes. This was 21-year-old India shuttler's second crown since his victory at the JE Wilson International Series in Ghana in 2019.

Earlier this month, Kiran George had topped the national trials and earned a place in India’s squad for the Thomas Cup to be played in October.

In doubles, Bhatnagar-Pratheek came through from the qualifying rounds and went on to upstage the English pair of Rory Easton and Zach Russ 21-18, 27-25 in the final for their maiden title. The match lasted 39 minutes.

For Ishaan Bhatnagar and Sai Pratheek, it was their second straight final after the Ukraine International earlier this month.

As many as 29 Indian badminton players took part in the four-day tournament that started on Thursday.

World No. 97 Chirag Sen was the top-ranked Indian at the Polish International. Seeded fourth, he was ousted from the men’s singles event in the second round. Kartikey Gulshan Kumar and Kevin Arokia Walter also fell in the second round, as did Tarun Reddy Katam, who came through the qualifiers.

Aryamann Tandon lost in the first round while Harshit Aggarwal, Rohan Gurbani, Priyanshu Rajawat, Varun Kapur, Ayush Raj Gupta, S Sankar Muthusamy Subramanian and Raghu Mariswamy could not make it past the qualifiers.

In the women's singles, world No. 185 Samiya Imad Farooqui stood out for India, finishing runners-up after losing 21-15, 16-21, 21-12 to Jaslyn Hooi of Singapore, ranked 133, in the final.

Sixth seed Ira Sharma could only make it to the quarter-finals. Keyura Mopati, meanwhile, came through the qualifiers but fell in the second round while Prerana Neeluri and Tanya Hemanth bowed out in the opening round.

Kriti Bharadwaj, Tanishq Mamilla Palli, S.S. Lakshmi Priyanka Subramanian, Meghana Reddy Mareddy and Prerana Neeluri's campaign ended in the qualifiers.

In the women's doubles, India’s sole entry of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand lost 21-10, 21-18 to France's Margot Lambert and Anne Tran in the final.

Gayatri, who has been named in the India squad for next month’s Uber Cup, is the daughter of former All England champion and national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand.

Kathiravun Concheepuran Manivannan and Santhosh Gajendran were the only other Indian pair in the men's doubles. They exited the tournament in the second round.

India had no representation in the mixed doubles.

The Polish International has been running since 2012 and this year was its ninth edition. The latest tournament featured 124 entries from 29 countries.

This was also India's most successful outing in the tournament since 2016, when Rituparna Das claimed the women's singles title and the duo of Sanjana Santosh and Arathi Sara Sunil bagged the doubles crown.

Rituparna Das also clinched the singles title in 2018.