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Age just a number for this 64-yr-old bench press champ

Ranchi’s Indrajeet Singh conquered death in 1971, emerged champion, and has not looked back thereafter. He is all set to win gold at a Commonwealth championship in South Africa next month.

other sports Updated: Jul 08, 2017 18:13 IST
B Vijay Murty
International power lifter Indrajeet Singh workout at his gym for preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth games 2017 South Africa .
International power lifter Indrajeet Singh workout at his gym for preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth games 2017 South Africa . (HT Photo)

While most Indians his age sit at home enjoying their ‘retired’ life, 64-year-old Indrajeet Singh slogs it out at his state-of-the art gymnasium with youngsters more than half his age for at least three to four hours everyday.

While for others, the routine could merely be for fitness and body building, this veteran powerlifter who later transformed into a skilled bench-press player has been training with weights for the last 49 years to win laurels for the state and nation.

Come September 10, Singh would be seen at the Commonwealth bench press and powerlifting championship in South Africa where he would be vying for gold in the 83 kg unequipped Masters-III category.

In the previous Commonwealth event, the man who stuck gold had lifted 122.5 kilograms. Singh is practising to lift 130kg and he is confident of making it easily.

Last year at the Asian championship in Tashkent, he was declared Asia’s best lifter in his category. He now wants to better his performance and become best lifter in Commonwealth.

How long will he keep going like this? “Age is just a number,” he replied with a confident smile. “I have at least 10 more years as a pro in this game. There are people above 70 competing in the event. Why can’t I,” he said.

Singh’s rise in the sport had been quite adventurous. He says in 1971 at the state level powerlifting championship in Patna, he broke his left hip bone lifting 200kg in the dead lift event. Doctors then said his entire body would have to be plastered and he will have to quit the sport.

“My graduation second year exams were near. I first took the exam and then went for the plaster. Once the plaster was removed, I took to track and field. But my heart lay in lifting weights. I decided if not powerlifting why not try in bench press. Within four years, I conquered my handicap and emerged state champion.”

There was no looking back for this champion thereafter.

This grandfather of three has had an impressive track record. He first stuck gold in 1975 lifting 487kg at the Bihar State Level Bench Press Championship and went on to secure a place in the Limca Book of Records. The record remained unbroken for 11 years.

At the 1984 Asian Championship in Indonesia, he won gold in the 100 kg category and got silver in overall category. Six years later, he repeated his gold winning streak at the Asian Championship in China.

In the 2002 and 2004 World Championships, he won successive gold, silver and bronze in various categories. Unfortunately, at the 2008 World Championship in USA, he finished fourth.