The bodybuilder in hijab took Kochi by storm. When Majiziya Bhanu was announced the winner of a bodybuilding championship held at the Durbar Hall on Sunday, the spectators gave her a standing ovation.
The 23-year-old wannabe dentist was a dark horse. She was on the way to a bench press competition in Alappuzha last week when someone suggested that she should try her luck at the bodybuilding championship too.
The final year BDS student was emboldened by her fiance, Noor Ahmad. Her parents, Abdul Majeed and Raziya, offered their full support. And the strong woman from the suburbs of Kozhikode stormed into the Kochi championship to flex her muscles. She stuck to her favorite suit, the hijab, with which she had been attending powerlifting contests.
Bhanu, who has been training to be a powerlifter for over a year, said that she was clueless about bodybuilding contests when she got on stage for the semifinals. She did not even know how to pose on stage. She was so tense that she forgot to forge a smile on her face. To her surprise, she was selected to the final.
Officials from the Bodybuilding Association of Kerala encouraged her. They told her she had a good chance and a little smile would not hurt. Bhanu had her hands full though. She had to take part in the bench press championship in Alappuzha on Sunday morning. She topped the senior women’s section in the 52-kg category. She was crowned the 'Best Lifter of Kerala'.
By the time she rushed back to Kochi for the bodybuilding championship, the other six finalists were ready to go on stage.
Equipped with quick tips from the male bodybuilders from her home district, Bhanu faced the crowd with confidence. There was no turning back. She beat the other finalists, including a professional from Mumbai.
Bhanu said that she wanted to be a boxer. Her trainer Ramesh, however, suggested that she should focus on powerlifting. She travels from her village in Orkkatteri to the Kozhikode town every week to train with instructor Jayadas.
She was selected as the best woman powerlifter in Kozhikode district last year. She also trains with bodybuilding instructor Abdul Latheef at Vadakara.
Bhanu has been representing her college in several tournaments. She has her eyes set on an international powerlifting title.