When our whole nation was waiting for the next Cricket series, few good Indian men went to Moscow (Russia) to raise the flag of India in a sport, powerlifting . It is hardly considered as a sport in the stereotypical and awareness lacked India. But these men know this fact very well and it hardly come between their dreams. We had the pleasure of connecting with one of the three men who went there. His name is Mohammed Azmat and he has something really great to say.
My story in Powerlifting
“It is a dream of every athlete to be able to step on the platform with the best and take their sport to the zenith of competition. Though I had represented India at different competitions earlier, this one was more than a dream for me. Having been into powerlifting for over 2 decades with the highs and lows of everything that life has to offer, I always kept telling myself of giving one last try before giving up and this is where I am today. Destination is still far as it is truly the WR (world record) that is perhaps what I would like to see against my name Azmat/IND, atleast one if not more.
I competed at Worlds in the category based on my weight class and age, yeah there are categories based on age from teens all the way to M7 which is over 75 years. Yes, even today, we do have athletes lifting at the age of 75 and still rocking the world. I have met many of Indian men and women in various National Level competitions who are over 70s.”
We are given 3 attempts in each lift i.e. Squat, Bench & Deadlift to lift our heaviest and there are tight norms on passing the lift, rules to be adhered to etc. So basically, it is those 100 to 130s it is all about. We train 100s of hours every year to better this. It is relentless, we spend out of our pockets for training, diet, supplements, gear, travel, registrations etc. It is a sad story for sports in India, except for cricket, there are almost no sports that are sponsored. We eat till we puke, sleep whenever possible, we work like anyone else does, we have families like most of you do, we choose to be who we are, we are Powerlifters.
This meet had a lot going in for me. Work was pretty hectic with my account at HPE and yeah, I head the Target Infrastructure Cloud for HPE across EMEA. Used to work i.e. upto 9-10pm. I used to train late sometimes up to 12:30 am and grab a meal before crashing. A lot going in my mind due to illness of someone very close at heart. Also, used to wonder if I would even get the visa. Fortunately the embassy wanted to see us in person, so another drive to Chennai. Eventually got that sorted to travel in time.
Weather in Russia was unprecedented, we really had no clue of what -15*C felt like. It was cold indeed. The nervousness was adding up as we never lifted in such low temperature. Indoor stadium was heated but we still have to walk. Old injuries start to act up as well.
I was talking to my mentor, Jack and he would always reassure that things are in control and I’m ready. Just kept saying to keep hydrated, we did realize that we were dehydrating badly after squat later.
Squat – Opened with 240kgs, second was an easy 255 which I messed up with mind playing games, my old groin tear started to act up and I was not myself with it. Got called on depth, went in with same in the final attempt and barely cleared it. Still mind was playing games with the groin tear. Best Squat was 255kgs which was my best in a Championship but not what I wanted that day though.
Bench – 135 was an easy opener but the cramps were just unbelievable, just couldn’t setup tight for the next attempts. Managed to get the 145kgs on second attempt but with loose setup and arch. My final attempt was 152.5, the lifetime best, and it appeared like I had 5 kgs more. Now my total needed a 292.5kg pull for getting 700 total.
Deadlift – I needed to open with 260kgs but the jumps had to be long, so increased my opener to 270 kgs and it flew. Took the next at 285 and nailed it. Now the dilemma between a 700 total or 300 pull and 700+ total. I took a safer call. Pulled a lifetime PR of 292.5kgs. 700 it was.
Results – GPA World Powerlifting Championship 2016
Azmat : Category 110kgs – Weighed in at 101kgs
· Powerlifting: Stood 6th in Open Category and 1st in Sub Masters Category @ 110kg weight category. Sq 255 + Bench 152.5 + Deadlifts 292.5 = 700kgs
· Deadlifts: Stood 5th in Open Category and 1st in Sub Masters Category @ 110kg weight category. 292.5kgs
Raghu: Category 140kgs – Weighed in at 129kgs
· Powerlifting: 1st in Open Category and 1st in Sub Masters Category @ 140kg weight category. Sq 300 + Bench 155 + Deadlifts 290 = 745kgs
· Deadlifts: Stood 3rd in Open Category and 1st in Sub Masters Category @ 140kg weight category. 290vkgs
Vishal: Category 125kgs – Weighed in at 125kgs
· Bench Only: 1st in Open Category and 1st in Sub Masters Category @ 125kg weight category. Best Bench – 245kgs
KreedOn’s take – Powerlifting
After hearing such stories, our belief becomes even stronger that India has the capability to tackle any challenge of sports at the global level. All our athletes need is your love, support and top level resources when they take on those challenges. The resources would only come when sponsors show the willingness to look beyond Cricket or other few popular sports. While searching about these athletes, we could hardly find any information on the web. Imagine the amount of such hidden sports stories in the second most populated country of the world. We have another such story of Hatel Dave. Please do explore other stories as well.