Mother of two teenagers 47-year-old Bhavana Tokekar bagged four gold medals in powerlifting at the Open Asian Championships in Russia. The inspirational story of Bhavana who defied age with her achievement is really intriguing. Introduced to weight training just six years ago, this supermum from Pune surprised even her family with her determination and success.
Inspiring Journey Of A Homemaker
This wife of an Indian Air Force fighter pilot always maintained an active lifestyle. But never ever thought of joining weight training as a sport. She started lifting weight after IAF bodybuilding team members recommended it to her to increase her strength. Prior to that, she hit the gym six years ago simply to cut down the side-effects of medicines that she was taking to tackle her skin inflammation problem.
This year she competed at the Open Asian Powerlifting Championships of AWPC/WPC in Russia’s Chelyabinsk winning 4 gold medals for the country. After her win, Bhavana says, “There are many myths surrounding bodybuilding, weight lifting and other strength sports, especially related to women like it is meant only for young people and that it makes the body bulky. I started training initially when I was 41, but I wanted to be sure of it since I didn’t want to injure myself or do the wrong technique since weight lifting is not popular here.”
Internet Helped Her Develop Interest In Powerlifting
The full-time homemaker relied a lot on the internet to get first-hand information about powerlifting which further increased her interest in it. Bhavana spent a lot of time researching and reading about weightlifting through websites and YouTube videos. She trained very hard continuously for six years without a break. She performed her training under the guidance of the bodybuilding team of IAF with support from the internet.
This Maharashtrian first-time participant in an international competition says, “Taking part in competitions was a far cry for me, as I didn’t know if I could participate in events at this age, or if I would be able to match up to the standards.” Incidentally, it was through Instagram that Bhavana got to know about the competition and decided to participate.
— Subodh Kumar Srivastava (@SriSubodhKmr) July 17, 2019
Contact With Head Of WPC Was Turning Point
She followed handles on Instagram that gave fitness information and through this same medium she came in contact with the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh state head of World Powerlifting Congress (WPC), Mohammed Azmat.
Videos of Azmat inspired her daily. Bhavana says, “I clearly remember the day I messaged him, it was February 10 and I casually asked him if I could participate in the powerlifting event as a part of team India. Now, powerlifting is very different from weight lifting and hence, when Azmat sir replied that I could come and give trials, I was overwhelmed.”
In May Bhavana attended the trials and was selected for the Masters2 category (45-50 age group). More than 500 players around the globe including 14 from India participated in the championships.