Champa Balami competes during the 4th Inter Club Women Squat Competition in Kathmandu on Thursday. (Left) Roisin Rai lifts a weight during the competition. Photo: Republica
KATHMANDU, March 9: Roisin Rai, 14, participating in her first ever squat championships, won great compliments when she made it to the finals on Thursday.
In the first round held in Lalitpur on Wednesday, she had lifted 20 kg in the first round, 30 in the second, and 40 in the third round to qualify for the finals on the following day.
There were doubts as to whether she would be able to make it to the finals against the more seasoned weight lifters and squat players.
However, she surprised everyone with her strength and skill, lifting 80 kg in her initial attempt in the first round. She lifted 75 kg in the second round hinting at signs of fading off, but then made a triumphant comeback in the third round by lifting 90 kg.
Not only the spectators were in awe, fellow competitors were equally mesmerized to see the strength of a teenager.
“I wanted to participate in this competition but didn’t know it would be this soon,” said Rai, a 10th–grade student of The British School based at Sanepa, Lalitpur.
She added that she started preparing for the event only two months ago when her coach insisted that she participated in the event.
“I used to practice three hours every day to prepare for the mega event for the past two months. I thought, if nothing else, I will at least know my limitations and work on it for future participations.”
On the other end of the age spectrum, 48-year-old Champa Balami and 44-year-old Chandani Lama also participated in the event, also leaving lasting impressions.
Balami struggled to complete her first squat in the final. She half-lifted 90 kg but came back to lift the same weight in the second round, and improved further to 95 kg in the final round.
“My participation was confirmed only two days prior to the event. I missed the event last year due to my back injury,” Balami said. She was satisfied after her performance in the final round. “I am glad that I completed the last two rounds for the finals. It makes me feel satisfied and motivated to keep pushing myself even at this age.”
Likewise, Lama said her participation could be a matter of inspiration not only for herself but the whole women fraternity.
She said her performance came as a surprise even to her. “I believe this kind of event helps women to rise in the society. I take it as a great success to be able to lift all three times in my debut. It has given me new self-esteem and motivation to continue it further.”
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2019, Ideashop Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd, and Jasmine Fitness Center had jointly organized Nepal Life Fourth Inter Club Women Squat Competition on March 6-7.
The goal of the event was to empower women, the organizers said. In a society where fitness sports is considered only the men’s domain, the organizers said that women equally deserved to do well in the game.
The preliminary selection round of this two-day event was held on March 6, at Jasmine Fitness Center based at Tripureshwor, Kathmandu. The finals were held at LABIM Mall Pulchowk, Lalitpur. Chiri Babu Maharjan, Mayor of Lalitpur, was the chief guest of the event.
Total 220 participants competed for the title, whereby 31 participants were qualified for the final round.
In the category of below 60 kg, Oliva Maharjan representing Physique Workshop Club won the first position by lifting 125 kg and Aruna Basnet representing Rage Fitness Club won the second position by lifting 115 kg. Similarly, Jyoti Thapa representing Rani Pauwa Sports Club, Pokhara won the third position by lifting 100 kg. Thapa is the only contestant from outside the valley.
“There is still a lack of interest from women in this sport. There is a concept that it is a physically demanding sport. Hopefully, we will be able to change that perception with time.” Thapa said. She had finished third in the last edition of event.
In the category of above 60 kg, Bipasi Tuladhar representing Gymkhana Muay Thai club won the first position by lifting 150 kg and Uma Maharjan representing The Work Station Club won the second position by lifting 140 kg. Similarly, Bidhya Rai representing Nepal Byayam Mandir Club won the third position by lifting 140 kg.