Dedication, guidance and support from family has helped me reach where I am – Indian Powerlifter Bhavna Tokekar

Indian Powerlifter Bhavna Tokekar has already achieved great feats at the highest level. Having won four gold medals at the Asian Championships and three gold medals at the World Championships, she also holds the world record in Bench Press Full Powerlift. She epitomizes the ‘never say die’ attitude and serves as an inspiration to others that it's never too late to accomplish your dreams through grit, dedication and hardwork.

In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Bhavna Tokekar speaks about her introduction to Powerlifting, the help received by World Powerlifting Championship Congress, her training regime, participating in the Open Asian Powerlifting Championships in Russia, overcoming challenges and her future goals.

Q1) How did you get into Powerlifting and what made you choose a career in it?

I had started with weight training in 2012-13 and used to surf internet videos to check my technique. That's when I saw that Powerlifting comprised three lifts which I was already doing so I decided to have a go at it at least once. That's where it all started in July 2019 at the Asian AWPC Powerlifting Championship. 

Q2) How has the World Powerlifting Congress helped you in your career?

World Powerlifting Championship Congress is the federation which I participate through. It gave me a chance to participate in the event based purely on my capability without any prejudice.

Q3) Can you tell us your training regime and what it takes to become a champion Powerlifter?

I train for 3-4 hours a day at the gym for 5 days in a week. From my training regime, three days are intense training sessions and two days light exercises which also involves stretching and recovery. It takes a lot of grit, determination and 'never say die' attitude and focus to work towards your goal without being clouded by achieving results.

Also read: Sports Physiotherapy plays a vital role in increasing the longevity of an athlete’s career- Dr.Richa Kulkarni

Q4) How would you describe the experience at the Open Asian Powerlifting Championships in Russia?

The experience was great. I had gone with an intent of participation to assess how I fared as compared to women of my age world over. I was pleasantly surprised at the friendliness and warmth shown to me by people in Russia. 

Q5) What are some of the difficulties that you have faced in lifting weights, especially at this age and how did you overcome it?

After 40 a woman's body goes through a lot of changes physically. In my case all those anti allergic medications, immunosuppression corticosteroids I was prescribed for my skin ailment also had their ill effects showing up. Pains, aches, muscle fatigue, delayed recovery, mood swings were a few. Making time for what I liked (my gym workout) with all my responsibilities as a wife and parent also required me to go by precise clockwork through my daily chores. I guess it was my dedication, consistent hard work, guidance of my trainers and support from my family that helped me reach where I am. 

Q6) How do you think the perception towards powerlifting can grow in our country, especially among the youngsters?

I won't limit my perception about Powerlifting, rather the importance and benefits of weight training, staying fit and the benefits thereof especially during the current pandemic is what I would like people to pay attention to. Powerlifting is not an Olympic sport, so there is no help or aid from the government. All the expenses have to be borne by people themselves. Notwithstanding all that, it requires dedication and passion, both in terms of your time and money to be a Powerlifter.

Q7) What are your future goals and how are you working towards achieving them?

Having moved into Masters 3 category (athlete age 50-54) I am working towards improving my lifts further. It is a challenge when gyms are closed due to Covid. I have some weights and equipment at home with which I practice but it’s not the same as going to the gym. Making do with the available resources to the best of my abilities is all I can do under the circumstances.


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