The couple to tie the knot in December
Badminton, and sports in general, will again witness another marriage as two of the most high profile names in badminton are set to exchange vows. Saina Nehwal, it is understood, would be marrying her long time friend and fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap.
The marriage ceremony is thought to take place in December, most probably in their native place, Hyderabad. The event would be a low key affair, with not more than 100 of the couple’s close ones to attend.
Saina Nehwal, a former No.1, has so far won 23 titles for her country. Kashyap, on the other hand, also has won numerous accolades including a gold at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The news comes on the heels of a string of sports celebrity marriages witnessed in the recent times.
A big surprise? Not quite so
The news came as a big shock, but sources say the couple was always together for a long time. In fact, they have been seeing each other from the time they first met at Pullela Gopichand’s badminton academy in 2005.
According to sources, both wanted to focus on their respective careers. They were careful not to divulge their well-kept secret.
Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy – A Lover’s Paradise
The badminton academy is famous for generating world-class shuttling talent, having given stars such as Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, Sai Praneeth, Srikanth Kidambi– the list goes on. But apart from Olympic medals, the academy has also seen some of its notable players tying knot.
Sikki Reddy and Sumeeth Reddy
Like Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap, these two heartthrobs met for the first time at Gopichand’s academy in Hyderabad. Representing India at various international tournaments, they played in the mixed doubles category. In fact, they exchanged rings in an interesting manner, having fought against each other in the mixed doubles final of the Syed Modi International International Grand Prix. Quite a perfect start to a happy married life, isn’t it? Later, they married at a low key ceremony.
Sikki Reddy recently was awarded the Arjuna Award for her outstanding contribution to the sport of badminton.
Pranav Jerry Chopra and Pradnya Gadre
Also from the academy, Pranav proposed to Pradnya in the most dramatic fashion a shuttler could dream of – on the court, with a shuttlecock in place of the ring! Both of them, like Sikki and Sumeeth, represent India in the mixed doubles category. Their camaraderie later culminated into marriage on 13 December 2016.
The star couple stressed the challenges of marrying a partner from the field of sports. “Sports profession has lots of ups and downs, pressure and a need for a different lifestyle. Both being sportsmen, we will definitely complement each other,” they said in an interview.
Ashwini Ponnappa and Karan Medappa
She is not an alumnus of the PGB Academy. Nonetheless, the marriage was high profile, with another badminton star, Ponnappa marrying Karan, a businessman, on 24 December 2017 in a grand ceremony held at Coorg. Ashwini, who has won numerous doubles title with Jwala Gutta (including a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth games), continues her resurgence from dengue and is seeing on-court pairing with another rising star in N Sikki Reddy blossom in the recent times.
Arundhati Pantawane and Arun Vishnu
Another of mixed double pairs, Pantawane and Vishnu tied the nuptial knot in January 2016. Arundhati, who’s a national gold champion from Nagpur, and Arun, also a multiple time national gold winner, had attended the PGB Academy for over a decade before deciding to marry.
Pullela Gopichand and PVV Lakshmi
It would come as no surprise that the teacher himself, known as the Dronacharya of Indian Badminton, is married to a former national badminton champion, PVV Lakshmi. PVV Lakshmi is 8 times national champion and represented India at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Both tied the knot on 5 June 2002. She has played an instrumental role in making Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy a world-class establishment in badminton.
There are many other such marriages that have a direct connection to the academy, most notably including Akshay Dewalkar and Mridu Sharma, Uday Pawar to Sujatha, Madhumita Bisht to Vikram Singh among others.
It’s not often that you see players of a sports academy perform so consistently on the field – and off it as well!