One of the leading women’s doubles badminton players in India, Jwala Gutta, was in for a surprise on her 37th birthday as her longtime boyfriend and Tamil movie star Vishnu Vishal chose to propose her for marriage.
The couple have been seeing each other for a few years and will now be looking forward to a marriage date post the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jwala Gutta was earlier married to former badminton player Chetan Anand. They divorced in 2011. Vishnu was married to movie producer Rajini Natraj and the couple have a son, Aryan.
Jwala Gutta took to Twitter to announce the good news.
“We have both been very serious about each other and an engagement was long overdue,” Jwala Gutta told the Times of India.
“But I didn't expect Vishnu to pop the question on my birthday. It was truly a special surprise and it feels surreal right now.”
Jwala Gutta, who rose to prominence during the 2000s, is one of the finest doubles players that India has produced.
The Jwala-Diju pair became the first Indian team to win a mixed doubles Grand Prix Gold title when they clinched the Chinese Taipei crown in 2009.
A year later, the two became the first Indian pair to make the quarterfinals of the BWF World Championships, a feat that they repeated the following year.
The 2010 season was special because Jwala and Diju made it to the final of the season-ending BWF Super Series Masters Finals. They eventually lost to the World Championships bronze medallists Christinna Pedersen and Joachim Fischer Nielsen from Denmark.
It was also the season that saw Jwala Gutta join forces with a young Ashwini Ponnapa for the first time.
The Jwala-Ashawini combination barely disappointed as they kick-started their run with a gold-medal show at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the first for India in the women’s doubles, and then went on to become the first Indian pair to win a World Championships medal - a bronze - in 2011.
Riding on this momentum, Jwala and Ashwini impressed in the group stages of the 2012 London Olympics but lost out on a quarter-final slot due to a technicality.
They, however, didn’t let the London loss hurt for long. Jwala and Ashwini led India to a historic Uber Cup bronze in 2014 and followed it up with another in 2016.
However, following a below-par show at the 2016 Olympics, Jwala Gutta switched her focus towards nurturing young talent through her academy - the Jwala Gutta’s Global Academy for Badminton - which was established in 2019.