Former national badminton coach Vimal Kumar on Thursday lauded Saina Nehwal for not letting her relationship with fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap affect her game, amid reports that the two are getting married in December.

“I knew about their relationship,” Kumar told PTI at the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence in Bengaluru. “One good thing about it is, Saina managed it very well. She did not get distracted with it. Her priority was sport and she gave 100% to it.”

Saina moved from Hyderabad to Bengaluru to train under Vimal Kumar in 2014 before her return to Hyderabad in 2017 to once again train under Pullela Gopichand last year.

Kumar was instrumental in helping Saina achieve world No 1 ranking in April 2015 and win a silver at the world championship.

“Normally, such attractions and relationships among teens are a great distraction, but Saina drew inspiration from it and reached many milestones in her career,” he added.

Recently, Saina had included Kashyap’s name in her thank you note on Twitter along with coach Gopichand and her physios after clinching a bronze in Asian Games.

Kumar said it is important not to forget about one’s goals in life. He added that he is happy that Saina is getting married to Kashyap because he has known them for a long time. He also advised Kashyap to switch to coaching after marriage but expects Saina to continue playing for a couple of years more.