Gayatri Gopichand in India's Uber Cup squad - Who are other famous father-daughter duos in sport?

From Muhammad Ali-Laila Ali to Karl Malone-Cheryl Ford, we look at five famous father-daughter pairs to have played the same sport
By Soham Mukherjee

The Uber Cup is the women’s team world championships event, which will be held from October 9 to October 17 in Denmark.

The Indian team has already been announced and Saina Nehwal will be leading India's charge in the competition. She will be joined by Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt, and Tasnim Mir, who topped the singles rank in the selection trials.

The 10-team member also includes Gayatri Gopichand, daughter of Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichand, and her partner Tressa Jolly, who stood third in the trials.

Gopichand has been one of the finest Indian shuttlers. Apart from winning the prestigious All England Open in 2001 by beating then world number one Peter Gade in the semifinals, he also won an Asian Championship bronze medal in 2000. He has captured two medals at the Commonwealth Games in 1998, a silver and bronze, in the men's team and men's singles respectively.

Following her father's footsteps, Gayatri also wants to make a name for herself in badminton and currently trains at her father's academy. She has won a silver medal in women's singles at the South Asian Games and a gold in the women's team event.

However, the sporting world is replete with examples of father-daughter duos excelling in the same sport. We look at five of the most exciting pairs who have achieved success in their respective domains.

Muhammad Ali and Laila Ali

Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest athletes in the history of sport. At just 18, Ali travelled to the 1960 Rome Olympics to compete in the light heavyweight division and won the top prize by defeating three-time European champion Zbigniew Pietrzykowski in the final. The American boxer, who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee, went on to become one of the most successful pro boxers as well, winning three heavyweight championships.

His daughter Laila Ali followed in his footsteps and announced that she would become a professional boxer at 18. She has won 24 matches out of 24, and out of them, 21 have been through knockouts. She also held the WBC, WIBA, IWBF, and IBA female super middleweight titles, as well as the IWBF light heavyweight title during her illustrious career.

Joe Frazier and Jacqui Frazier-Lyde

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were locked in an iconic boxing match on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden which was dubbed as the 'Fight of the Century'.

In that match, Ali suffered his first professional defeat as he went down by a unanimous decision after fifteen rounds. In the second fight, Ali won against Frazier by a unanimous decision. In the third fight, which was popularly known as Thriller in Manila, Ali won once again, and this time by technical knockout when Frazier's chief second, Eddie Futch asked the referee to stop the fight after the 14th round.

Frazier in his career had not lost a third match and his record stands at 32-2. Frazier's daughter took to boxing at the age of 38 to avenge her father's loss to Ali. At 39, she took on a 23-year-old Laila to set the record straight. It was an intense and close fight but Ali emerged the winner with a scoreline of 79–73, 77–75, 76–76.

This was the only loss that Frazier-Lyde had suffered in her career. Her record stands at 13 wins out of 15, with one no-contest against Erin Toughill.

Muhammad Ali stands tall with a gold medal

Tamika Catchings and Harvey Catchings

Harvey Catchings might not be as popular as his daughter Tamika Catchings, but the defender played for 11 seasons in NBA and has a rare feat of recording at least 10 blocks in a single game.

In 1982 he was fined $1000 as he landed a nasty blow to Larry Bird's face. However, his daughter Tamika has had an outstanding career that includes winning the league MVP, winning the WNBA Championship and Finals MVP, making to 10 WNBA All-Star teams, and four Olympic gold medals.

She has had an incredible career despite suffering from hearing disability.

Karl Malone and Cheryl Ford

After a defender, we have a legendary forward in the list in the form of Karl Malone, who set ablaze the court during his 18-year career.

A two-time MVP and 14-time All-Star, he is fondly known as the 'Mailman' for his inch-perfect dunks in the basket. He has two Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996 respectively.

His daughter, Cheryl Ford. was equally prolific and in 2003 she was drafted to Detroit Shock, the same year, Karl hung up his boots. In the very first year, she was adjudged the WNBA Rookie of the Year and was subsequently named in the All-Star in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007 editions. She has won three WNBA titles with Shock.

Valeri Liukin and Nastia Liukin

Russian gymnast Valeri Liukin finished on the top spot of the Olympic podium at Seoul 1988 in team competition as well as on the horizontal bar. He also clinched two Olympic silvers in the same edition in all-around and parallel bars. He has won two World Championship gold in team events.

He went on to marry 1987 world champion rhythmic gymnast Anna Kotchneva and in 1989 a daughter was born to them, who was named Nastia Liukin. Nastia represented the United States and has won five Olympic medals.

All her Olympic medals came at Beijing 2008. She won gold in all-around, silver in team, uneven bars, and balance beam, whereas, a bronze in floor exercise. She also has won four golds and five silvers in the World Championships.