In a country where bodybuilding is still a taboo, this Kerala female bodybuilder is creating waves. And now she is not only a female bodybuilder. But the lady is creating waves because she is a hijab-wearing bodybuilder.
Yes, in the Muslim community bodybuilding is still a highly ignored subject. And this lady is surely challenging a number of societal and traditional barriers. Ms. Bhanu is all set to compete in the Women segment of Mr. Kerala competition. Everyone was looking at the lady because never before in the history of bodybuilding a lady wearing a hijab has ever competed in the race.
Ms. Bhanu is a woman of burning passion and she believes that she will show off her body at correct situations and cover it when required. She also believes that women of her community should definitely make their presence feel in the world of bodybuilding and fitness.
“It is only after their names are announced that one realizes that the contestant is a Muslim,” she said. “I feel proud to wear the hijab, which is a part of my identity. It does not limit me in any way but gives me dignity and strength.”
Ms. Bhanu took a time of good two years for her transformation from a dental student to a female bodybuilder. She belongs from a very small village in Kerela and she has been selected thrice as the strongest women of the state by Kerela State Powerlifting Association. In the last two years since she has begun her career in this field, she has won numerous medals in both powerlifting and arm wrestling. She also continued her dental training side by side. But she is also a woman who can be recognized from a distance. Because she always practices with her hijab on.
She shared “In the initial days, men used to stare at me as I had my hijab on. But soon they realized that I was as serious as them in my workouts. Then all the eyes disappeared,”
She has a keen interest in sports but she is quite sad because her village does not have any such facility. So every day after her dental classes, she would travel for sixty kilometers by train to a gymnasium in Kozhikode. But it was her parents’ motivation that kept her moving.
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“I used to return around 9 pm. Initially, it was tough, but I slowly gained the confidence to travel alone and, eventually, it became a part of my routine,” said the final year dental student
“I hail from a very orthodox village here and my parents agreed to let me pursue my passion of bodybuilding.”
Now, she is an inspiration in her village. Now, her village has got a gym as well.
“Many young girls and women have started coming to me to seek advice on what needs to be done as they also want to do what I am doing. Now there is a gym in my village itself,” she said, adding that now she goes to Kozhikode only three to four times a month.
Work-wise, she will next be seen in world Arm Wrestling championship. But she is also a huge believer that you must carry on with your academic career as well and she is willing to complete her dental course and if bodybuilding doesn’t work out for her then she will build up her medical profession.