Two men from namma state have made the country proud by winning top honours at the Subrata Classic International Powerlifting Competition. Meet Sujay Janardhan and Vishwanath Ganiga, who bagged two golds each at the event, which was hosted by the Indian Powerlifting Federation in affiliation with the International Powerlifting Federation.
Throwing light on the competition, Sujay says, “It was an Asian meet which saw participants from countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Chinese Taipei etc. We had two meets — the powerlifting meet and the deadlift meet. Vishwa took part in the 83 kilo category while I took part in the 105 kilo category. Vishwanath was also the star of the event as he was declared overall champion.”
For those unfamiliar with powerlifting, it is a strength sport that consists of three rounds. “The first one is squats, the second one is bench press and the third one is the deadlift. Each player is given three attempts at each variation. We have different body weight categories and finally, a formula called Wilks is applied and the strongest lifter of the tournament is recognized,” reveals Sujay.
Ask the two zealous power lifters how they got into the sport and Sujay says, “I’ve been doing strength training for years. On a competitive level, I started in 2010. I quit the IT field and started my own strength training centre — Red Cage.” As for Vishwnath, he is a lad from Udupi who juggles between an IT career and his passion for the sport. In the past six years, he has been a national champion 14 times.” In the junior level, I have two records in deadlift. On the Asian level, I have won two golds, one silver and one bronze medal,” he says.
As fervent competitive sportsmen, the twosome rue the state of sport in Karnataka and India. Vishwanath explains, “The biggest drawback for a sportsperson in our state is that there is no sports quota or preference for sports in government jobs. When we meet sports people from other states, they are all into government services.” To which Sujay adds, “They often sponsor themselves as they do not get financial aid. It’s difficult as we have to take care of our families. We end up using saved up money for competitions.”
During the previous Commonwealth Powerlifting event held in Canada, the Indian team did got get a visa and also, the participants had to personally shell out Rs 3 lakh each. “We put in our money, and come back and submit forms. We still haven’t got our cash rewards which have been pending since 2014!” they reveal.
Sujay has a piece of advice for youngsters. “Given the current situation, one must have a backup to support their family financially, until the government steps in to make changes. If we get some kind of support, we will get a mental boost,” says the power lifter....