THAT HE is paralysed waist below did not deter Yogesh Mehar (26) from working on his body waist above. From the past 10 years, he’s been working out at a gym every day for two hours and now boasts of an impressive physique. Polio-afflicted Mehar is one of the 105 physically-challenged bodybuilders from across the country who participated in the Gravity Mr India – Bodybuilding Competition 2017 held at Ganesh Kala Krida Mandir in Pune on Sunday. Mehar went on to win the gold medal in the 55-kg weight category. Besides the handicapped participants, the competition also featured 200-plus normal bodybuilders.
Mihir Kulkarni, chairman of Maharashtra Bodybuilding Association, said, “Though we have been organising this competition from the past five years, it was the first time that physically-challenged bodybuilders were allowed to take part. The primary aim was to encourage them.”
Mehar, who won the IBBF Mumbai Shree and IBBF Maharashtra Shree in 2014 followed by IBBF Mumbai Shree again in 2016, said he aims to participate in international level competitions too. He doesn’t see his dream coming through due to lack of support from the government.
“Whenever we go for any competition, we have to bear our own expenses. The government should at least sponsor our expenses,” he said. To travel to Pune, he spent Rs 3,000 and the prize money he received was Rs 5,000. Zenuddin Sheikh, the gym instructor at Gravity, said that as compared to normal people, physically-challenged people have to put in three times the effort.