Hyderabad:Siblings and couples teaming up is not new in racquet sports but in a unique case, an Israeli shuttler has combined with her teenaged son for the mixed doubles event of the World Badminton Championships which started here on Monday.
Svetlana Zilberman (45) and her 19-year-old son Misha says they are five-time national champions and are perfect partners for each other despite the huge age difference.
"We have been playing together for the last five years and we have won the national championship in our country five times," says Svetlana.
"This is for the first time we are participating in the World Championship and we hope to do well," she added.
Misha says having his mother has been doing a twin job as she is also his coach.
"We are a great combination. I am very comfortable with her around because even if she doesn't say anything, I can understand what she means. We have this great connection," Misha says.
"She is also my coach. So when she is not playing, she is actually teaching me," he added.
Misha will take on World number five and defending champion Lin Dan of China in his singles opener.
Misha says he can't recall when he started playing with his mother as he has never had any other partner except for her.
"I think, I have been playing with her since I was born and don't know exactly when was the first time we played together," Misha joked.
"She has been playing the game since she was 12," he added.
Himself a five time national champion and the only professional player in the country, Misha says it hasn't been easy to pursue the sport.
"There are not enough sponsors and the game is not that big back home. We have to spend from our own pocket. Even to participate in this tournament we had to shell out USD 3000," he says.
"There are not many clubs in Israel and there aren't many practice facilities at in the clubs that are there," added Svetlana.
The Zilbermans were supposed to face 11th seeds Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg of England in the first round but with the country pulling out due to security concerns, they have got a walkover.
They will take on the winners of the match between the Indian pair of Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan and Japanese combo of Noriyasu Hirata and Shizuka Matsuo on Tuesday.
Asked how long he would continue playing with his mom, Misha quipped, "As long as I don't find someone younger."