Shweta Rathore

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'My first International body building medal'

Jan 1, 2017: The Times of India

`My ripped muscles surprised a lot of people' Shweta Rathore | 28 | Two-time Miss India fitness physique

My palms felt oily . It was the World Bodybuild ing & Physique Sports Championship of 2014 and my first time competing for an international medal in the fitness physique category . It was also the first time the contest was being held in Mumbai.

As a 25-year-old aspiring fitness model for India, this was a high-stakes platform for me. No Indian had ever won a m e d a l i n t h i s c at e g o r y globally, and I had spent over Rs 5 lakh on training, diet, designer bikinis, shiny heels, personal make-up artist, hairdresser and other stuff. I had even cut down on salt and water days before the event so that my veins would pop.

At the end, there was to be no cash prize, only a medal.

And that's all I really wanted.

But right before the pre-judging round, which would decide the top five finalists, I realized that I had applied a tanning cream which had too much oil. Big mistake, espe cially when you h ave t o d o a 90-second rou tine which in cludes hand stands, back flips, push-ups and cartwheels. I was clutching my knees when they called out my name but then I asked my fear to take a backseat. Somehow, my palms didn't cave, my crow pose held as did my hand stands and I made it into the fi nal five.

Compared to my sticky morn ing, my evening was light and confi dent. When I entered the green room to slip into my black sports bra and shorts, fel low contestants from Brazil and Thailand said I didn't look Indian. They didn't know India too had women with ripped muscles and were surprised by my physique and my confi dence. Even a Hungarian official who had trained many title holders said I was a find. This charged me up. I knew I was already changing stereotypes. In a black bikini and heels, I then assumed the mandatory poses with the four other finalists. My confidence paid off. I won the bronze medal, the first-ever In dian woman to do so. I realized that once you overpower fear, you can achieve anything. Also, I have never used that tanning cream since.

As told to Sharmila Ganesan Ram

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