Just two years ago, Ashwini Waskar was a simple women with simple needs. Her first need for a gym arose when she was getting fat. In the space of one year, the 32-year-old underwent a dramatic transformation. So much so, that she is India’s first competitive female bodybuilder.This is the inspirational story of Waskar.
Hailing from Raigad in Konkan, Maharashtra, Waskar completed her post graduation in fisheries and in 2009, she arrived in Mumbai to become a senior research fellow at the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology. It was during her stay in Mumbai where her passion for fitness grew.
Speaking to The Mirror, a UK-based paper, she said, “While working I was becoming really overweight, so to maintain my fitness level I joined a gym in 2012. Out of enthusiasm, I used to lift heavy weights and I followed a rich protein diet. That’s how my body became really strong.”
In 2013, she attended a male bodybuilding competition and it captivated her. In that event, there was an announcement which gave her the boost to pursue this sport. “An announcement was being made there 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?” When she visited her hometown in 2013, she went to Hanuman Vyayamshala, a local gym and it was here where the gym’s owner Rajesh Angad was astounded to see her perform the same routines as male bodybuilders.
Angad informed her about a bodybuilding event in Pune and asked her to participate. There was one problem. The attire of bodybuilders was too revealing for her conservative parents to allow. “I told my father about my desire to participate and the attire. He said that he would let me know his decision the next day,” Aswhini recalled. “To my surprise, he consented. He said there was nothing wrong in exposing your body for a sport that demands contestants to be similarly attired.”
Her father agreed to support his daughter’s training and participation costs. In her first event in December 2014, Ashwini came in fifth position, a wonderful achievement for a beginner. Sadly, despite all the hard work and participation in seven international competitions, Ashwini has not managed to find any sponsors except her father. For an event in Mumbai, she had to sell her gold chain as her food supplements cost her Rs 20,000 per month.
Despite lack of sponsorship, Ashwini continues to be positive. She says she sees a bright future for women’s bodybuilding. “Girls are coming into bodybuilding and some women are being inclined towards fitness. “I would really love to train a girl who comes up to me with a wish of participating in competitions.” Despite braving the odds, she has come a long way and she deserves all the recognition. A big salute to Ashwini Waskar’s spirit.