Deepthi Sreenivasan –
Letting go of one’s big-city dreams and moving to a small city is a tough step for many. Mumbaikar Nithya Suresh too lived through the strange void of adapting to the slow paced life of Kochi city after she moved out of Mumbai, three years ago. But as she was exploring her new life in a new city, Nithya found love in the unlikeliest form – Powerlifting.
“There were a lot of things to do in Mumbai and all of a sudden moving to a smaller city was difficult. So I wanted to get involved in some activity where I could kill my time and it was around the same time that I met Kiran, who is now my husband. He is into fitness and used to hit the gym regularly, so I tagged along with him and joined the gym”
For Nithya, who is a photographer and an HR by profession, Powerlifting was a completely new world and she began exploring it wholeheartedly. While, when it all started, her focus was mostly on the aesthetics of having a well maintained body, it all changed when she started lifting weights. “Initially it was all about losing weight and looking fit. But when I started lifting heavy weights, I realised that I’m pretty strong and I haven’t really explored my level of strength. A lot of trainers in the gym started noticing that I lift heavy weights compared to others in the gym, and they suggested that I try out powerlifting as a sport.”
At just 26-year-old, powerlifting as a sport had hardly crossed her mind. “But when all of them started suggesting this I thought, why not?”
Nithya took it up as a challenge and started training to compete in powerlifting competitions, which is when Covid hit. That, however, did not dampen her spirit. “ I couldn’t take part in the competition last year, but I made up for it and competed this year.”
She took part in the World Powerlifting Congress, a national level championship held in Bangalore, under the 52 kg category, and took home Gold Medal in three categories.
“I grabbed gold in Full Powerlifting which consists of Squat, DeadLift and Bench Press and then there was a Bench lift only category and Deadlift only category.”
Nithya is currently training to participate in the Asian Powerlifting Competition to be held in Kyrgyzstan by the end of June, though, she says considering the current situation the Indian team might not be able to participate in it. “But I am hoping to take part in the Indian Powerlifting Federation (IPF) which is tentatively planned for September.”
She makes time for training in between her full time job as a baby photographer and a part time job as an HR. Nithya also follows a healthy diet of eating everything in moderation and staying away from packaged food.
Nithya’s love for powerlifting also comes from the fact that it helped her lift the heavy weight of depression and find a way out of it “There was a period in my life when I had to fight depression and identifying a sport like this has helped me come out of it. There are not a lot of women who are encouraged to get into powerlifting, but then the kind of confidence and emotional support I got from this sport made me stronger,” she sums up.