The time has come for Indian women to venture into domains which were considered restricted only to men in the country. Tremendous progress has been made in the field of bodybuilding with the entry of Ashwini Waskar who became India’s first female bodybuilder.
What Ashwini has done was never even thought of by anyone before. It has broken another ground reality that women cannot enter the profession because it is a tough job and that only men can do it. She has not only defied gender stereotype, but also crossed cultural barriers.
It began when Ashwini joined a gym in Mumbai to remain fit. Her interest developed as she was doing her basic training course from there. After coming back to her hometown, Raigad, she continued her fitness regime at the local gym and surprised the owner of the gym, Rajesh Angad, by pulling off the same routine as her male counterparts. Rajesh, later, encouraged the 32-year old, Ashwini, to start bodybuilding seriously. This triggered Ashwini to transform her body impressively to suit the profession, confirmed a report by the Daily Mail UK.
Before adopting bodybuilding on a full-time basis, Ashwini worked as a senior at a senior research fellow at the Central Institute of Fisheries Education which she quit to fulfil her dream, says a report by Mirror UK.
All this recognition and respect came at a heavy cosy for Ashwini for whom getting sponsorship was impossible which is not the case with male bodybuilders. Her father supports her financially to achieve her dream. Only her food supplements cost Rs. 20000 every month, leave aside other necessities. A report from Indiatimes said that she had to sell her gold chain to participate in an event in Mumbai.
“An announcement was being made there (at a bodybuilding event) about the upcoming first national level female bodybuilding competition and they were asking if anybody wants to participate. So I thought ‘why not give it a try?’” said Ashwini in the report by Mirror UK.
Belonging from a middle class conservative family living in a small town, she was apprehensive about wearing short clothes and bikini to showcase her body, but her family backed her in this decision as well. “After I built my body, I asked my father’s permission to wear a bikini and enter a competition, where I flaunted my curves and muscle power. It gave me a lot of confidence,” The Times of India quoted her as saying.
It is a new beginning for Ashwini and she has opened a new arena for other women in India as well.