Just before Reeth Rishya entered the arena for her last qualification round against Chhattisgarh’s Priyanka Singh, she turned around to ensure her beau was coming over to watch her match from close quarters.
After Reeth, the Chennai-based paddler, made short work of her opponent to ensure a place in the main draw of the 11Sports Central Zone National-ranking tournament, she just exchanged a grin with Sanil Shetty.
The duo has been the talk of the Indian table tennis fraternity ever since they announced they are in a relationship on social media.
Table tennis, just like other racquet sports, has a long tradition of intra-sport couples. From Kamlesh Mehta and Monalisa Barua to Sujay Ghorpade and Ritu Bhola to Arup Basak and Kanchan Dhawan to S. Raman and B. Bhuvaneswari to Soumyadeep Roy and Poulomi Ghatak, the paddlers tend to get hooked up with the amount of time they spend in the national camps and on tours. It was no different with Sanil, the Mumbai boy, and Reeth.
“Being together at the camps and all, we were really good friends so we knew each other well but when he proposed to me last year, even though it didn’t come as a surprise, I took my time since marriage is not something you can say immediately. But I am glad it has turned out to be a joy ride for both of us,” Reeth, former national youth girls’ champion, told Sportstar at Abhay Prashal, here on Thursday.
An excited Sanil joined in. “The lady luck has been smiling on me non-stop. First I came in top-100 of the world rankings, then was part of the gold medal-winning team at the Commonwealth Games and just last week in Panchkula, I beat Amalraj for the first time.”
“And yes, my team finished runners-up in the UTT (Ultimate Table Tennis, the franchise-based league) two weeks ago,” added Sanil, the 2015 National champion.
The duo, which got engaged in January, is trying its best to keep the focus on the ongoing table tennis season ahead of the wedding in December.