“Happy and honoured,” that’s how Deepika Chowdhury felt after being placed 7th at the Arnold Classic, a bodybuilding competition named after actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. The competition is an annual event conducted by the International Federation of Bodybuilding.
The 33-year-old molecular biologist with the Pune-based National Institute Of Virology (NIV) represented India at the Arnold Classic, which was held from March 17 to March 19 at Melbourne.
Deepika, the country’s only female figure athlete to hold a pro card in bodybuilding, competed against 20 contestants from across the world. While she started competing in 2014, Deepika got her pro card within two years and in just another year, she managed to secure the seventh rank in the world.
After Mr Olympia, the Arnold Classic is the second biggest bodybuilding championship across the globe and this is the first time that an Indian contestant participated in the Figure category in the competition. While Deepika is elated at her ranking, she is also a bit upset at the lack of awareness about such events. “I am the only Indian woman to represent the country at an event which people aspire to compete in once in their lifetime… but not too many people seem to be even aware of this sport,” she says. Deepika was placed after top Olympia winners Candice Lewis (first), Cyney Gillon (Second), Latorya Watts, Gennifer Strobo, Swann De La Roza and Camela Rodriguez.
Trained by the Bombshell Fitness company at Florida, Deepika is mentored by Shannon Dey and coached by Olympian Gennifer Strobo.
Not many women in India have trained for bodybuilding as a sport and for Deepika, it is a challenge to encourage more women to join this sport.