Despite participating for the first time, the 23-year-old Majiziya Bhanu recently won Mr Kerala Bodybuilding championship in Kochi. A final-year BDS student at Mahe Institute of Dental Sciences, Bhanu, hailing from Orkkatteri in Kozhikode is a professional weightlifter but had never taken part in a bodybuilding competition before.
Hijab-clad Majiziya had entered the bodybuilding circuit, which is mostly a male bastion, and managed to reconstruct the familiar image of the woman bodybuilder.
“I did not intent to participate in this at all. I am a powerlifter and had never thought of participating in a body-building competition. One reason was that I will be required to expose my body. So when I came across a Facebook post on the event, I was still sceptical. But my fiancé sent me photos of Muslim women from other countries who participated in body-building competitions wearing a hijab. That’s how I decided to participate; it was just an attempt. I did not expect to win the title!” TNN quoted Majiziya as saying.
Speaking to the Times of India, Majizia said, “My fiancée encouraged me to attend the event. I had never before taken part in a bodybuilding competition. So, I sought the help of my weightlifting coach, who sent photos of poses to be displayed on WhatsApp.”
Wearing her favorite black body-hugging sports suit and a headscarf, Bhanu displayed her unique physique through the mandatory four postures and landed herself a gold medal by impressing the judges in no time.
“I was quite confident of winning the championship as I found the other women contestants to be chubby,” added the wannabe dentist.
Majiziya, as a child, was into athletics and other sports and had maintained a strong physique. She took an interest in boxing in 2016, but soon dropped out as she was not allowed to enter the boxing ring wearing braces.
She then turned her attention to powerlifting and was declared the ‘Strong Woman of Kerala’ thrice by the Kerala Powerlifting Association. She got silver medal in the Asian Powerlifting Championship in 2017, reports said.
The idea of bodybuilding popped up recently. “I was apprehensive about taking part as it involved much skin show,” Majiziya reportedly said. “But then I came across some videos of Egyptian women bodybuilders and decided to adopt the costumes they used.”
She did not know how to pose, and being too nervous, couldn’t even smile while on stage. But thanks to fellow male bodybuilders from Kozhikode who encouraged her and officials who tipped her on the importance of smile, she gained confidence by the time she reached the finals.
“The clothes were never a problem as the judges were experienced enough to assess a clothed person’s build,” The Hindu quoted Majiziya as saying.
She praised her parents for constantly giving her the freedom to pursue her dreams. Majiziya also hails her fiancee for constantly pushing her to apply for the competition. The weightlifter also credits her coach Jayadas for bringing her to the stage she currently stands on.
Majiziya now seeks to participate in the World Powerlifting Championships and hopes to see powerlifting as part of the National Games in the near future.