Belting success

The Wuppalapati family (from the left) mum Priti, Aarushi, dad Siddhartha and Arundhati
The Wuppalapati family (from the left) mum Priti, Aarushi, dad Siddhartha and Arundhati
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A Preston mum and dad were inspired by their two daughters to take up the sport of taekwondo.

And now the entire family is celebrating after they all achieved a coveted black belt first dan at the same time.

Priti Wuppalapati was cajoled by her husband Siddhartha to join in the weekly sessions at the Preston-based North West Taekwondo Club, which their daughters Arundhati and Aarushi attend.

Arundhati is aged 12 and is a Year 8 pupil at Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School. Aarushi is two years younger and is in her final year at St Pius X Preparatory School.

Priti said: “The girls joined over three years ago and we used to sit there for one-and-a-half hours doing nothing – just watching them.

“My husband said to me, ‘What’s the point in just sitting here wasting over a hour doing nothing – we might as well join in’! I had to be pushed a little bit, but the girls are so much into it.

“We’ve alway wanted them to learn self defence.We are all absolutely delighted to have achieved a black belt. I never thought I would reach this level at all.

“It’s a great surprise but we did work really hard for it.”

The family attend around three sessions under instructor Brian Williams each week, at venues including Fulwood Leisure Centre and Preston College.

Priti, who works as a obstetrician and gynaecologist at Royal Bolton Hospital, while her husband is a consultant in neuro-intervention at Royal Preston Hospital, admits her family keep her motivated to learn new manoevres.

“My husband and the girls go to three sessions per week – I try to get to all three but sometimes it’s just two because of my work commitments and depending on what shift I am on at the hospital,” she added.

“But they push me to learn new kicks and new patterns. I think the teacher we have really helps. Brian is brilliant.

“He is an absolutely great instructor and is so patient, especially with the young kids.

“At the moment, we are learning how to handle four people who come and attack you – for instance where one of them might be carrying a chair, the other a knife and another person has a stick.”

Siddartha was particularly pleased to be awarded his black belt as his two American-based brothers Bharadwaj and Chaitanya and his 11-year-old nephew Rishab are all experts in taekwondo.

The family will now be working towards their second dan, which can take 18 months to achieve.