Women in India are blurring stereotypes by joining a male-dominated sport: bodybuilding. They face many challenges, but they also earn respect.
These women haven’t become model athletes just for fame or fitness. They’ve muscled their way into the sport to protect themselves from sexual violence.
CGTN’s Ravinder Bawa reports from Delhi.
Female bodybuilders break down barriers in IndiaWomen in India are blurring stereotypes by joining a male-dominated sport: bodybuilding. They face many challenges, but they also earn respect. CGTN's Ravinder Bawa reports from Delhi.
Female bodybuilders in India have ignored criticism and being laughed at. They have stood their ground in the sport.
For some women, such as Geeta Saini and Mamta Yunman, the journey has been tough. Breaking gender barriers was the biggest challenge for them.
“I know there are many girls from my state who practice bodybuilding. However, if you’re a girl doing this, you will face a lot of criticism from people. That is a challenge,” Saini said.
“It was only in 2014 that I could participate in this sport in my own country, when they introduced women’s bodybuilding as a category. That was the first time I felt that what I had chosen to do wasn’t wrong,’ Yunman explained. ‘During competitions, I don’t think about the position I may finish in, as it gives me such courage and confidence to see so many women participating.”
More and more women have taken to fitness and body building in India. It is challenging for women, as they need to work harder to build muscles like their male counterparts.
“More and more women are coming forward to take part in this sport. It’s not just the fitness element, but it can also help them become strong and be able to defend themselves,” Anup Singh, president of the Haryana Body Builder Association said.
It will take sometime before the sport becomes common among women, but until then many are overcoming milestone after milestone to make a path for others.