Chennai:WAGs are an important part of any game, where the well-dressed ladies cheer their sportsperson partners from the stands. However, that seems to be changing with HABs (Husbands and Boyfriends) coming on the scene. With our sportswomen doing us proud on the international stage, their partners are now taking to the stands, cheering the loudest. The HABs are not only their strongest supporters, but also coaches for their better halves.
Dipika Pallikal, who won the gold medal in the doubles squash, the first in the sport for India at the Commonwealth Games, had cricketer fiancé Dinesh Karthik rooting for her on the day of the finals.
Getting engaged last year, they train at the gym together and have the same fitness coach “He motivates me; having someone train with you early in the morning is amazing. Whenever I am down, he lifts my spirits up instantly with his pep talk,” says Dipika, who promptly posted a selfie of herself with Dinesh after her victory.
Dipika says that Dinesh dropped her at the airport for her flight to Glasgow and made sure he was present during the finals. The couple went on a shopping spree before the match to de-stress. “So glad I could have my man with me on such a magical day!” tweeted Deepika after the victory. Karthik retweeted the photo with the caption: “So proud of her”.
Shiny Wilson, the first woman athlete from the country to reach an Olympic semifinal, also has a similar, heartwarming tale to narrate. This successful athlete met her husband, Wilson Cherian, a former record holder in swimming, at the 1986 Asian Games camp. “We could handle the pressures of the sport because we had each other. I married Wilson in 1988 and participated in the 1996 Olympics, thanks to his support. Most women kiss their careers goodbye after their marriages, but I grew stronger in my career after it,” says Shiny Wilson, now general manager at Food Corporation of India’s Chennai office.
Anju Bobby George, ace long jumper, made history when she won the long jump bronze medal at the 2003 World Championships in Paris. Anju says that her husband and coach, Bobby George, motivated her to give her best shot. Sixteen days before the event, her body had swollen up and she could barely walk. She wanted to quit. But her husband, a national level triple jump champion, himself, decided to take matters into his hands. “He nursed me mentally and physically. I thought that I would compete at the national level and retire, but my husband had other plans. He quit his career and became my coach. From the ground to home, he was always there. He is my doctor, mentor and biggest support,” she finishes