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From TT court to grand courtship

- Ace players proud of ‘sporting’ life partners

Crush on court is as common as smashes crushing on table tennis boards.

Mesmerising top-spins and forceful volleys helped several ace players find their life partners in the playing arena. And they are leading a happy married life.

The affair of ace Bengal paddlers Soumyadeep Roy and Poulomi Ghatak can be an inspiration for Bollywood scriptwriters. Known to each other from childhood, there was “mid-career crisis”.

To pursue his career, Soumyadeep moved to Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) Table Tennis Academy in Ajmer. Poulomi stayed back in Calcutta. After parting, came the “happy hours”. They got engaged in 2009 and tied the knot after the Commonwealth Games in February 2011. Soumyadeep told The Telegraph: “Both of us liked each other but none of us proposed. After a long time, we realised the feelings and decided to marry.”

The love story of Arup Basak and Kanchan Dhawan Basak, both coach of PSPB, was full of drama. Kanchan’s conservative Punjabi parents were not ready to accept a Bengali son-in-law. Kanchan, the national champion in women’s category in 1992, said: “When Arup proposed me for the first time, I turned him down because of my family. But when he approached me again, I had to accept his proposal.” Cut to PSPB paddler Subhajit Saha and Bengal player Nandita Saha. They knew each other for years like Soumyadeep and Poulomi before marriage. The romance on court is just not confined to players having their roots in Bengal. Jharkhand’s Atanu and Moushumi Chatterjee were in relationship with each other since 1999 as they both practised at YMCA. They married in 2006. Jharkhand coach Moushumi said: “Our personal relationship does not come in the way of our careers.”

Moushumi and Atanu, still a player of Jharkhand, work at accountant-general’s office in Ranchi.

Bihar table tennis coaches Chulbul Das and Rahul Das tied the nuptial knot in 2000 after a long relationship. “Veterans” Kamlesh Mehta and Monalisa Baruah Mehta, too, know each other for years before getting married.