Bhavna Tokekar, a 47-year-old woman is a mother of two teenagers and hails from Pune. She started following the passion into weight training six years ago, and now won gold medals for the country at the Open Asian Powerlifting Championships of AWPC/ WPC at Chelyabinsk, Russia on Sunday, Hindustan Times reported.

Bhavna, wife of an Indian Air Force fighter pilot, said, “There are many myths surrounding body building, 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.”

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Bhavna is also a self-taught in weight lifting who started researching through YouTube videos and other websites before making her debut. For over six years, Bhavna has been rigorously training hard every day without a break under the guidance of the IAF’s bodybuilding team.

“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,” says the Maharashtrian. This is her first gold during her first-ever competition in Russia which she became aware of through Instagram.

Bhavna expressed, “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.”

There are many myths surrounding body building, weight lifting and other strength sports, especially related to women. I started training when I was 41

She then attended the trials in May this year in Bengaluru and got selected for the Masters2 category (45-50 age group). “I had to undergo technique corrections for powerlifting and I was informed about the rules and regulations. I trained hard with my new technique and was guided by Azmat sir online as well,” adds Bhavna who competed in U67.5 Masters2 Category to bag gold in full powerlifting raw and bench only. Her best lifts were Squat – 85kg, Bench – 62.5kg and Deadlifts – 120kg. “It was exhilarating to witness such great sportspersons at the championship. I could not believe I could perform so well at the world stage,” says Bhavna.

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“I initially started this to increase my strength, but now I enjoy weight training. My family supported me in this endeavour and they are my pillars of strength. They helped me follow my training and also came to train with me to the gym. I wish there is more awareness about strength sports in the country,” adds Bhavna, who is eyeing her next championship — WPC Worlds 2019.

Feature Image Credit: Hindustan Times

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