Jimmy George (1955 - 1987)

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Birthplace: Peravoor, Kannur District, Kerala, India
Death: Died in Italy
Cause of death: Car accident
Managed by: Rony Jose
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • Mary
      mother
    • George
      father
    • Jose
      brother
    • Mathew
      brother
    • Private User
      brother
    • Annie Maria
      sister
    • Francis Byju
      brother
    • Stanley
      brother
    • Winston
      brother
    • Robert Bobby
      brother
    • Silvia
      sister

About Jimmy George

Jimmy George (born March 8, 1955 in Peravoor, died November 30, 1987) is often considered one of the greatest volleyball players of all time.[1] He was the first Indian volleyball player to become a professional and played club volleyball in Italy Jimmy George was born to the famous Kudakkachira family and learned to play volleyball from his father, a former university-level player. He played for St. Joseph's High School in Peravoor. In 1970, Jimmy became a member of the University of Calicut volleyball team. In 1973, he joined St. Thomas College, Pala. Jimmy represented the Kerala University four times from 1973 to 1976. The Kerala team won the All India Inter-University Championship during these four years. He was the captain of the team in 1973. He secured a berth in the Kerala State Team at the age of 16, in 1971, and thereafter he represented the state nine times. In 1976, Jimmy quit medical college to join Kerala Police where he remained a member of the police team until his death. He took leave from the Kerala Police in 1979 and went to the Gulf to play for Abu Dhabi Sports Club. In 1982 he left Abu Dhabi to join Coletto Club at Treviso in Italy and played for them for a season. He then switched to System Impiani and played for them in 1983-84. Returning to India he rejoined Kerala Police, played his last Nationals at Kanpur in 1985 and went back to Italy to play for Arrital team. In 1987-88 he signed a contract with Eurostyle-Euroslba team at Montchiari in Brescia and it was during that period that he died in a car crash.[2] Jimmy played for India's national volleyball team in the Asian Games in Tehran (1974), Bangkok (1978) and in Seoul (1986) where India won the bronze medal. He was captain of the Indian team that played at Saudi Arabia in 1985, and led the Indian team to victory in India Gold Cup International Volleyball Tournament at Hyderabad in 1986 At age 21, Jimmy George was the youngest volleyball player to win the Arjuna Award. He was given the G.V. Raja Award in 1975 and won the Manorama Award, for the best sportsman of Kerala, in 1976. He was judged the best player in the Gulf Region while playing for Abu Dhabi Sports Club, from 1979-82. He played as a professional in Italy from 1982-1984 and 1985-1987, and in his prime was considered one of the best attackers of the world. In 2000, Malayala Manorama,a newspaper in Malayalam, honored him as the best sportsman of Kerala of the 20th century Jimmy died in a car accident in Italy on November 30, 1987, at the age of 32. His son, Joseph George, was born just two months after his death. Following his death, the Jimmy George Foundation was established, which in 1989 instituted the Jimmy George Award for best sportsperson of Kerala. The foundation also makes available cash awards at St. Joseph's High School, Peravoor, and at Devagiri College. The government of Kerala dedicated its indoor stadium at Trivandrum as the Jimmy George Indoor Stadium. At St. Thomas College, Pala, a volleyball stadium is named for him, as were a stadium and a road at Peravoor. An indoor stadium in Italy was dedicated in his memory at Montichiari, Brescia, and an annual junior tournament is organized in his memory.[1] Since 1989, the Kerala Volleyball League of North America organizes the Jimmy George Super Trophy Volleyball Tournament

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Jimmy George's Timeline

1955
March 8, 1955
Peravoor, Kannur District, Kerala, India
1986
1986
Age 30
Seoul, South Korea

Jimmy George (born March 8, 1955 in Peravoor, died November 30, 1987) is often considered one of the greatest volleyball players of all time.[1] He was the first Indian volleyball player to become a professional and played club volleyball in Italy.
Jimmy George was born to the famous Kudakkachira family and learned to play volleyball from his father, a former university-level player. He played for St. Joseph's High School in Peravoor. In 1970, Jimmy became a member of the University of Calicut volleyball team. In 1973, he joined St. Thomas College, Pala. Jimmy represented the Kerala University four times from 1973 to 1976. The Kerala team won the All India Inter-University Championship during these four years. He was the captain of the team in 1973. He secured a berth in the Kerala State Team at the age of 16, in 1971, and thereafter he represented the state nine times.
In 1976, Jimmy quit medical college to join Kerala Police where he remained a member of the police team until his death. He took leave from the Kerala Police in 1979 and went to the Gulf to play for Abu Dhabi Sports Club. In 1982 he left Abu Dhabi to join Coletto Club at Treviso in Italy and played for them for a season. He then switched to System Impiani and played for them in 1983-84. Returning to India he rejoined Kerala Police, played his last Nationals at Kanpur in 1985 and went back to Italy to play for Arrital team. In 1987-88 he signed a contract with Eurostyle-Euroslba team at Montchiari in Brescia and it was during that period that he died in a car crash.[2]
Jimmy played for India's national volleyball team in the Asian Games in Tehran (1974), Bangkok (1978) and in Seoul (1986) where India won the bronze medal. He was captain of the Indian team that played at Saudi Arabia in 1985, and led the Indian team to victory in India Gold Cup International Volleyball Tournament at Hyderabad in 1986.
At age 21, Jimmy George was the youngest volleyball player to win the Arjuna Award. He was given the G.V. Raja Award in 1975 and won the Manorama Award, for the best sportsman of Kerala, in 1976. He was judged the best player in the Gulf Region while playing for Abu Dhabi Sports Club, from 1979-82. He played as a professional in Italy from 1982-1984 and 1985-1987, and in his prime was considered one of the best attackers of the world. In 2000, Malayala Manorama,a newspaper in Malayalam, honored him as the best sportsman of Kerala of the 20th century.
Jimmy died in a car accident in Italy on November 30, 1987, at the age of 32. His son, Joseph George, was born just two months after his death. Following his death, the Jimmy George Foundation was established, which in 1989 instituted the Jimmy George Award for best sportsperson of Kerala. The foundation also makes available cash awards at St. Joseph's High School, Peravoor, and at Devagiri College.
The government of Kerala dedicated its indoor stadium at Trivandrum as the Jimmy George Indoor Stadium. At St. Thomas College, Pala, a volleyball stadium is named for him, as were a stadium and a road at Peravoor. An indoor stadium in Italy was dedicated in his memory at Montichiari, Brescia, and an annual junior tournament is organized in his memory.[1] Since 1989, the Kerala Volleyball League of North America organizes the Jimmy George Super Trophy Volleyball Tournament.

1987
November 30, 1987
Age 32
Italy

Born on 8 March 1955 in the tiny town of Peravoor in Cannanore district of Kerala, Jimmy George gave new dimensions to volleyball in India. A superb player with an eye for technical perfection, Jimmy was the first player from India to become a professional. He played for Kerala and India as an amateur and as a professional in clubs outside of the country. He was an instant success, legend in his own lifetime, but fate was unkind. He died in a car crash in Italy on 30 November 1987.

Jimmy learnt the primary lessons in volleyball from his father, a university-level player of his time. He played for St. Joseph's High School in Peravoor and was just 16 when he was picked up to play for the State in the National Championship held in Jamshedpur in 1971. But the real player in Jimmy flowered when he went to Devagiri College in Calicut. Together with his brother Jose, he represented Calicut University from 1970 to 1972.

Later as a student of St. Thomas College in Palai and Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), he played for Kerala University for Kerala University for four years and helped the University to win the Inter-University Championships from 1973 to 1976. He captained the University team in 1973, He left his " medical studies in 1976 to join the Kerala Police as Circle Inspector where he later rose to become an Assistant Commandant.

Jimmy represented Kerala in the Nationals till 1979. He took leave from the Kerala Police in 1979 and went to the Gulf to play for Abu Dhabi Sports Club. He left Abu Dhabi in 1982 to join Coletto Club at Treviso in Italy and played for them for a season. He then switched to System Impiani and played for them in 1983-84.

Returning to India he began his second phase of association with the game. He rejoined Kerala Police, played his last Nationals at Kanpur in 1985 and went back to Italy to play for Arrital team. In 1987-88 he signed a contract with Eurostyle-Euroslba team at Montchiari in Brescia and it was during that period that he died in a car crash.

He was adjudged the best player of the Gulf region while playing for Abu Dhabi Sports Club and was rated among the ten best attackers of the world in 1980s while engaged with Italian professional clubs. Jimmy George was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1976. A year before he had received the C.V Raja Award from the Kerala Government.

Jimmy played for India in the Teheran Asian Games in 1974, the Bangkok Asian Games in 1978 and the Seoul Asian Games in 1986, He helped India to win the Bronze Medal at the Seoul Asian Games. He played for India Test matches against the visiting team from Paris in 1978 and captained India against the visiting Japanese team in 1985. He led the Indian squad in the International Volleyball Championship in Saudi Arabia in 1985 and captained the team to victory at the International Volleyball Tournament at Hyderabad in 1986.

On his sudden death in 1987, his friends and relatives joined hands to establish the Jimmy George Foundation in Peravoor and Trivandrum. The Foundation has instituted 'Jimmy George Award' for the best sportspersons from Kerala. The State Government has named an indoor stadium in Trivandrum after him. His admirers and friends in Italy too have dedicated an indoor stadium in his memory at Montichiari, Brescia.

1988
January 1988
Age 32

(Correspondent Shivani Naik, The Indian Express daily dated 26thJuly, 2009)

Remembering Jimmy, who soared higher than anyone before or since

The image of a 6’2” human spring, leaping high in the air and staying there longer than most could, made Jimmy George a legend in Indian volleyball. Twenty-two years since his death at 33 in a car accident in Italy, India is yet to produce a show-stopper of his class.

Jimmy represents a golden era of Indian volleyball that makes old timers misty-eyed when asked to comment on the falling standards of the game in the country.

“He had what is called the absolute jump — more than a metre above the ground — which in the 70s and 80s was very rare in India. It still is,” says Ramana Rao, Jimmy’s former team mate. “Volleyball is all about defying gravity, but Jimmy’s was the most stylish jump because he managed a little air-rest where he could stop in flight for a fraction of a second,” he adds.

While Indians had every reason to gape at this home-grown brilliance, Jimmy also had a considerable international fan-following during his six seasons as a pro in Italy — one of the best volleyball leagues in the world. Among the many firsts that the spiker brought to India was the jump service, and the generic professionalism. “Besides his jump, what was also several notches above any other Indian was his tremendous mental power,” remembers national coach G E Sridharan, who followed Jimmy to Europe and played setter on his Italian club teams.

Jimmy George was not your usual attacker. And Sridharan (called Sherry because the Italians found one consonant too many in his name; Jimmy was easy) believes the explosive burst came from his mental toughness. “Jimmy was into meditation well before it came into Indian sport. When he came to the court after his quiet thought, we could just watch the stored energy explode. The whole mind and body came as one when he jumped into the typical body arc.” Jimmy’s transformation from a meditative monk to an explosive attacker also lifted the team to new levels.

India benefited greatly from Jimmy’s Italian stint, winning an Asian Games medal at Seoul in 1986. Considered amongst the world’s top-10 attackers while heading out to Korea, he was a man possessed on the morning of India’s bronze-medal match against defending champion Japan. “He must’ve told each of us some 20 times that we’d to win. He started attacking from the first or second point, and kept asking for the ball. That day he blasted the ball like anything and even scored off some wrong passes,” recalls Sridharan. And, that’s a setter confessing.

Poignantly, the tributes haven’t stopped coming from Italy, where Jimmy rose to lofty heights. Sridharan travelled there recently and found a lump in his throat when club members at Treviso (a club that Jimmy helped enter the top-rung Serie A1) inquired about Jimmy’s wife and son — born two months after his death. An indoor stadium at Montichiari, Brescia, was named after him, even before Trivandrum offered its salutation with its own stadium. And a street off Coletto Club, close to Milan, has been christened Jimmy George.

Former international Amir Singh, who believes that the only way out of its slumber for Indian volleyball is an Italian coach, says that the foreigners he’s played against have often wondered: Jimmy George. Where did that bolting ace come from?

In Kerala, Jimmy George is a memory that needs to be taken to the next generation, through his old videos. Brother Sebastien, who played with Jimmy in his last match (Kerala Police vs Titanium) in India, has compiled tapes of Jimmy’s games to be distributed around schools and colleges.

Team mates remember Jimmy for his enthusiastic and endless rounds of blind-chess and memory games in between matches. The CD rolling out a Jimmy George retrospective should be a good excuse to remember India’s finest-ever spiker. That’s the kind of bounce-back Indian volleyball desperately needs.