Meet Reeni Tharakan, 63-year-old Powerlifting Champion From Kerala

There's no stopping this 63-year-old homemaker-turned-powerlifter from Kerala. The mother of two flaunts four gold medals in her kitty from international powerlifting events

Tanya Savkoor
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reeni tharakan 63 year old powerlifter

Tharakan recently triumphed at the World Classic & Equipped Masters Powerlifting Championships in Mongolia | Photos: The Hindu

Reeni Tharakan's fitness journey started with an inclination to lose weight as a 53-year-old homemaker. 10 years down the line, the mother of two has made history by securing four gold medals at the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Classic & Equipped Masters Powerlifting Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. 


Tharakan participated in the M3 category of the championship, meant for participants over 61-70 years old. Tharakan was competing with around 145 weightlifters from about 44 countries. Tharakan told The Hindu that women outnumbered men at the championship, which she called an "eyeopener" about the women who powerlift. There were 15 women powerlifters from India.

The 63-year-old from Cherthala, Kerala started powerlifting just four years ago and began competing in 2021, upon encouragement from her coaches, Jagan KG and Jerry Lopez. She said in The Hindu interview that she received a lot of criticism for powerlifting at her age, but thanks to support from her husband and two daughters, Tharakan was able to personify the saying "age is just a number." 

reeni tharakan
Photo: Manorama Online

Beacon of determination

Tharakan travels over 37 kilometres to train at her gym in Vyttila, Kochi, three times a week. The other three days, Tharakan trains at home, with one rest day per week. Tharakan can lift up to 112.5 kilograms. She maintains a body weight of 66-67 kilograms.

Tharakan also flaunts a medal from the Asian Women's Equipped Powerlifting Championship held in Alappuzha this year, and many other district-level medals.


Tharakan, who is an English Literature graduate, had a keen interest in sports since her school days, but she discontinued her passion after marriage. In an interview with The New Indian Express, the powerlifting champion said, “But I kept alive the sportsman in me, and this has helped me compete later in life."

Her husband, Antony Tharakan, shows his support by encouraging her and driving her to the gym for her training. He is a retired chief commercial manager of Southern Railways. Their elder daughter Anya is settled in the United States, while Roshina runs a restaurant in Chennai.

In just four years of weightlifting, Reeni Tharakan has managed to flip the page of her homemaker life to a new chapter. She is now not only known as a powerlifting champion, but also a beacon of determination and inspiration for all other women to follow their passion, no matter what age, and also lead a fit lifestyle.

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