The plight of sports other than cricket in India is nothing unheard of. While it feels good to see football and badminton hustling their way into the limelight, the government still remains oblivious to a dozen of other sports. One of these completely overlooked sports is body-building. Despite having world class body builders, the Indian Body Building Federation is still not recognized by the government. Voicing our concern for this sport, here are 10 world class Indian body builders who every Indian should know about.
1) Murli Kumar
A sailor in the Indian Navy, Murali Kumar never had the wildest idea that one day he will be an Indian bodybuilding icon. Aged 35, Murli started lifting at relatively late age of 25. Today Murli stands as the undisputed Mr. India for the past two consecutive years (2013 and 2014). He also performed fantastically at the Asian Bodybuilding Championship held in Vietnam in 2012. All this combined makes him the top most bodybuilder of India, presently.
2) Sangram Chougule
Sangram Chougule is synonymous to Indian bodybuilding. An electrical engineer from Pune, this 32-year-old lad has won Mr. Universe title in the 85 Kg category in the World Bodybuilding Championship held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2012. Apart from this, he is the undisputed winner of several domestic and international awards in bodybuilding. Sangram’s daily diet consists of 2 pounds of fish, a pound of chicken, lots of milk and boiled vegetables.
3) Suhas Khamkar
Born and brought up in a family of body bodybuilders, Khamkar is one of the most distinguished bodybuilders India has ever produced. The muscled beast has been 9 Times Mr India, Mr Asia 2010, Mr. Olympia Amateur and 7 Times Mr. Maharashtra. Suhas is also the First Indian bodybuilder to become Mr. Asia in 2010, winning a gold medal.
4) Rajendran Mani
After serving in the Indian Air Force for 15 years, Mani ventured into the sport of bodybuilding. One of the most experienced bodybuilders from India, Rajendran Mani has won both the Mr. India and Champion of Champion titles a record total of 8 times. Last year, he won the World Bodybuilding Championship for the 90 kg category held in Budapest, Hungary.
5) Ankur Sharma
This Delhi guy is being hailed as the best young bodybuilding talent of India. His most iconic wins apart from a number of domestic titles include Gold in the 2013 WBPF World Championship, Mr. India 2012, and second place in Mr. India competition, 2013.
6) Ashish Sakharkar
This man stands synonymous to the title of Mr. India. Sakharkar is considered not only an icon in Maharashtra but in the whole of India.
7) Hira Lal
Unlike the general notion that non-vegetarian diet is essential to bodybuilding, Hira Lal is pure vegetarian. He won the Mr. World 2011 in the 65 kg class apart from a number of other achievements.
8) Varinder Singh Ghuman
Varinder Singh Ghuman, one of the most popular bodybuilder on the list, is also the only one to venture into cinema. With his gigantic physique, Ghuman has won Mr. India in 2009 and was awarded 2nd place in Mr. Asia. Just like Hira Lal, he is also known for being a pure vegetarian body builder. He is also the only Indian bodybuilder to be roped in by Arnold Schwarzenegger for promoting his health products in Asia. He was also reportedly promised a role by Salman Khan in his upcoming movie.
9) Amit Chhetri
The most iconic Gorkha bodybuilder in India, Chhetri won the Champions Federation Cup 2013. Not only Chhetri was declared the best in his weight category (95-100 Kg), but was also chosen as the best in nine other weight categories between 55 and 100Kg.
10) Neeraj Kumar
Another young and rising body-building star of India is Neeraj Kumar. He topped the Mr. India 2013 with a gold medal and a bronze at WBPF Mr. World 2013.