Meet Ishant Sharma’s Fiancee: Basketball Champ Pratima Singh
Cricketer Ishant Sharma is all set to enter the long list of Indian sportspersons getting married this year. The 6’4’’ pacer will get hitched to basketball player Pratima Singh on 9 December.
The couple reportedly met in 2011 when Ishant had been invited as the chief guest for Delhi’s Reebok IGMA Basketball Association (RIBA) League. Ishant struck up a friendship with Pratima, who was there to help her sister organise the meet.
Five years later, in June 2016, the two got engaged in the basketball player’s hometown Varanasi. We know all about Ishant and his deadly deliveries on the cricket pitch, but here are five facts about the 5’9’’ girl he is set to marry.
1. Background and Family
Born on 6 February 1990, Pratima is the youngest of five sisters, all of whom play basketball. However, unlike the Phogat sisters, the Singh siblings do not have an older generation of basketball players in their family.
Pratima’s father Gauri Shankar Singh is a Senior Branch Manager at the Allahabad Bank branch in Varanasi’s Shivpur area. Her mother Urmila is a retired teacher. Pratima also has a younger brother, Vikrant Solanki, a footballer who has played for a junior I-League team.
2. ‘Singh Sisters’ of Varanasi
A basketball team in themselves, Priyanka, Divya, Prashanti, Akanksha and Pratima are the famous Singh sisters of Varanasi. And between the eldest and youngest of the five sisters, there’s a ten-year age difference.
All five sisters started their basketball careers at the UP College Basketball Court near their home. Priyanka went on to play for the Uttar Pradesh state team, while the youngest four have all represented India at the international level.
Priyanka is now a basketball coach at the National Institute of Sports and Divya coaches the under-16 Indian men’s basketball team.
3. Basketball Career
Following in the footsteps of her elder siblings, Pratima started playing basketball when she was just six. In an earlier interview, she said basketball had become “a family business” for the Singhs.
Starting with her first major achievement, a silver medal in the Sub-Junior Nationals in 2003, Pratima went on to contribute to her state team at both the youth and junior levels.
While studying in Delhi, she was part of both the college and university basketball teams. She is now a permanent fixture in the national team, besides representing Delhi domestically.
After completing her schooling in Varanasi, Pratima moved to Delhi to pursue an under-graduate degree from Jesus and Mary College. Anju Luthra, the institute’s HOD for sports, told The Quint that she was a brilliant student. The Varanasi girl also bagged the ‘outstanding sportswoman of the year’ award while in JMC.
Pratima went on to obtain a bachelors in Physical and Health Education from the Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education & Sports Sciences. She followed this up with a diploma in Basketball Coaching from the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala. Her long list of educational qualifications, it seems, matches the number of sporting achievements that she has notched up.
5. Present and Future Plans
Besides contributing consistently to basketball in the country, Pratima serves as acting Chief Sports Advisor at Genesis Global School, Noida.
In the future, she hopes to help improve the country’s lack of sports infrastructure and opportunities by setting up an academy that trains children in a variety of sports like basketball, cricket and football.