National-level powerlifter champion from Ludhiana struggles to find job
Birdi, who has been working as a powerlifting coach at Panjab University, Chandigarh for the last three years on non-salaried basis, can only pin his hopes of being recruited as a sports coach on the government.punjab Updated: Jul 14, 2017 11:22 IST
Winner of dozens of medals and a senior national champion in powerlifting, 45-year-old city-based powerlifter, Bhupinder Singh Birdi, is still struggling to secure a job.
Now Birdi, who has been working as a powerlifting coach at Panjab University, Chandigarh for the last three years on non-salaried basis, can only pin his hopes of being recruited as a sports coach on the government.
HARD WORK, WINNING STREAKS
Sharing his struggle with Hindustan Times, Birdi said he started as a weightlifter in 1989. Never the one to shy away from had work, Birdi managed to win a silver medal in All India Intervarsity Weightlifting Competition held at Guntur in 1992. The national-level award got him a job as a constable in Punjab Police in 1994, after which he started training for powerlifting as well,” he said.
Birdi recalled, “In the same year, I bagged a silver medal in Senior Punjab Powerlifting Championship held at Rajpura.”
In 1995, Birdi started representing Chandigarh in national level powerlifting championship. “Due to some reasons, in 1994, a ban was imposed on the participation of Punjab team in the national and international events. Therefore, I started representing Chandigarh,” he said.
In 1995, Birdi became the junior national champion in powerlifting and also made two national records by lifting 275kg in squat event and 685kg total. He also went on to win inter state championship the following year.
FAMILY ISSUES LED TO TERMINATION
“In 1998, my father got hospitalised. Also, due to some other family disturbances, I was not able to report on duty, following which the then supervising official in Punjab Police terminated me,” Birdi recalled.
Birdi said, “That was a depressing year, but I didn’t lose my concentration. In 1999, after the sports ban was lifted, I started playing for Punjab and won the senior national powerlifting championship held at Madhya Pradesh. Then in 2001, I won an international level championship held at Finland.”
After becoming the world champion, Birdi again tried getting a job in Punjab Police, but to no avail.
Birdi said he lost all hope when even winning a gold in senior national championship held in 2002 at Patiala couldn’t land him a job with the police department.
Later, he got a chance to serve as a coach for five years at Ludhiana Club, but the same was discontinued as someone else with ‘good connections’ applied for the post.
JUST MAKING ENDS MEET
Birdi, who lives with his father, a retired army officer, mother, wife and kids at Pratap Nagar in Ludhiana, is earning a meagre Rs 10,000 per month through some small businesses. “The family expenses are borne by my father’s pension and my income only,” he said.
HOPES FROM GOVERNMENT
Sushil Kumar, joint secretary of Ludhiana Weightlifting and Body building Club, said that after him, Birdi was the second man from Punjab to become a senior national champion. For the last 42 years, no one from Ludhiana has been able to achieve the feat.
“Birdi’s achievements make him deserving for a senior post in a government department. Therefore, I urge the government to recruit him in some good position,” Kumar added.