Bodybuilder Nandkumar Shinde is going to represent India in the Mr Universe contest, a bodybuilding championship, in Germany this week.
But, the 42-year-old national level gold medallist is neck-deep in debt.
“I lost my job a few months ago as the company I worked for closed down,” said Shinde. “I had to take a hefty loan from the bank and mortgage my home to pay for my trip to Germany. My wife sold all her jewellery and I had to take money from my relatives.”
Unhappy with the lack of support from the state, Shinde is determined to win the title to create more awareness about the sport. He is one of the eight other contestants from the country who will participate in the contest, which is to be held from November 26 to 28.
Shinde was honoured with the titles of Bharat Shri, Maharashtra Shri and Thane Shri in bodybuilding. He, however, had to take a four-year break due to financial problems. He has a lot riding on the Mr Universe contest.
“I have taken a loan of more than Rs 2 lakh to fund my training. The cost of tickets and other requirements for the contest have already crossed Rs 1.5 lakh,” he said.
With a family and two children to take care of, Shinde had filed an application with the state government and even approached local politicians in Thane and Mumbai for funds, but was disappointed by the response.
The average monthly expense for a bodybuilder is around Rs 50,000.
It includes a daily diet of 50 eggs, 2kg chicken, 0.5kg fish, fruits, salads juices, steroids, and other dietary supplements.
Apart from this they also have to pay gym fees as eight hours of daily workout is a must.
“Most of the suburban bodybuilders are hard working and talented, but they lag behind in major events due to lack of sponsors or funds. Except a few hailing from wealthy families, most of the boys are drowning in debts,” said Shinde.
“The state should at least provide low-cost gyms for players in small towns as not everyone can afford private ones.”
In an attempt to provide a platform to such players, Shinde has started an economical gym for young boys who can’t afford plush ones.
Optimistic about his win in the contest, Shinde said: “My family has supported me unconditionally. I will give my best for them and my