Meet Anindita Das, A Doctor Turned Powerlifting Gold Medalist
Dr Anindita Priyadarshini Das, who hails from Guwahati, has won four gold medals at the eighth Women and Men Open Masters Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships this month. This 52-years-old mother of two is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist by profession. An MBBS from Guwahati Medical College, Anindita’s husband is also a doctor. A fitness enthusiast, Anindita is a regular at the gym and her interest in lifting weights pushed her into taking up powerlifting as a sport. Anindita has been powerlifting for the past two years. SheThePeople.TV catches up with Dr Anindita to know what drives her to excel at powerlifting at the age of 52 and her future plans.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My parents were in the teaching profession but us two sisters became doctors. My father was a professor at the university and mother was a high school teacher. They are both retired and leading a good life in Guwahati. We were taught to be independent, honest and hard working from a very young age. I got the best of everything in life. My parents never stopped me from doing the things I loved. Besides studies, I also played tennis, went swimming regularly, did Yoga every day and was the best debater in Northeast India.
What inspired you to enter the field of powerlifting?
We were taught to be independent, honest and hard working from a very young age. I got the best of everything in life. My parents never stopped me from doing the things I loved.
I have always been a fitness enthusiast. I started weight training two years back. Powerlifting just happened to me one day when about ten months back I was training in the gym as usual and my coach told me that the district championship was coming up. I was advised and encouraged to try and participate. I got four days of time to prepare for the event but then I was selected from the district for the state-level championship. In between, I got some time to prepare and I started working on my techniques. My performance in the state championship was great and people started recognizing me as a powerlifter.
I started working hard and preparing for the Nationals which was held in Gudiyatham in the month of May. In the nationals again I won the gold in my category and the overall title of Strong Woman of India. I was overwhelmed. This gave me a chance to participate in the Commonwealth Championship in Canada.
Commonwealth championship was a dream fulfilled for you. After seeing other lifters performing brilliantly, what do you think India lacks in terms of appreciating all kind of sports?
In terms of facilities and infrastructure, India has almost everything, but things need to be organised and distributed equally. The different associations of powerlifting need to join hands, be one and bring out the best powerlifters in the country. Politics and sports should not be mingled as the ultimate victims are the sportspersons.
How does it feel, being recognized as a sportsperson in the country?
Couldn’t ask for more! Being recognised as a sportsperson feels great. I feel I am a new me. A doctor and a sportsperson.
I don’t want to stop now. The Asian and world powerlifting championships are two events I would like to take part in, and am preparing for the same. Bring it on!
Do you face any struggles for sponsors to continue with your passion?
Finance and sponsorship are two big issues every sportsperson faces. Commonwealth expenses were entirely my own. Now even if I am shortlisted for some other international event it will be difficult for me to arrange the required funds. I personally met the chief minister who also happens to be our sports minister, our MLA, and MP, but it was in vain. Right now as far as I am concerned I am looking for sponsorship. This will help me move forward in the game.
As an athlete, I feel the government should have funds separately for all the events and especially an international event should always be entirely sponsored. This not only encourages us to perform well but also brings out new hidden talents in the country.
Your take on women sportsperson and gender discrimination in our country overall. How far have we come and how far yet to go?
I am from the northeastern part of India where women have always held high positions in all fields. Girls are treated equally and given equal opportunities as boys. So I personally have never faced any gender discrimination.
What kind of exposure can girls who want to take up the sport expect in coming years?
Women and girls have a great future in this sport. Powerlifting gives you immense strength; both physical and mental. One can develop a lot of self confidence and a strong personality. People have started to realise this and so I am sure a lot of women athletes will join the sport.
Powerlifting is considered a masculine area. Do you think this norm is changing?
Although it may look masculine, powerlifting is all about working towards a disciplined body and a strong mind. Having control over your mind and a strong will power are the basis of powerlifting. This has nothing to do with gender.
Feature Image Credit: Anindita Das