While the country was eating, sleeping and breathing cricket with its Men in Blue, a 40-year-old mother of two was quietly making waves in distant Mongolia. Pune-based Dr Sharvari Inamdar bar-belled to beat her competitors from 37 countries and become the only Indian to ever win two gold medals in the annual World Masters Powerlifting championship, held in Mongolia recently.
A strength sport, powerlifting competition comprises three attempts at three classic lifts: squat, bench press and deadlift. The highest weights lifted in each of the three attempts are totalled to select the winner. Sharvari, competing in the 57kg category, totalled 350kg - 127.5kg squat, 75kg bench press and 147.5kg deadlift - in the classic powerlifting competition to win gold.
She defeated Kirkpatrick Rebecca of the UK who totalled 342.5kg and Jennifer McCombie of Hong Kong who lifted 340kg. Inamdar did 395kg total in the 'equipped' category, in which competitors wear supportive knee sleeves, belts, wrist wraps, etc. For the International Powerlifting Federation's 'Best Lifters of Masters/Strong Woman' title, which is chosen from across all age groups and weight categories in the equipped category, Sharvari made it to the second rank.
I was only chasing medals for India. I never imagined I would win the World Strong Woman title. In the past I have won the Strong Woman titles in India, Asia-Pacific-Africa, but this was a world title," she said.
Another Indian woman, Reeni Tharakan, won gold in 69 kg equipped category.
Sharvari's 66-year old mother, Dr Purna Bharde, won bronze medals in the 60-plus age category. "I initiated my mother into strength training to help with her osteoporosis. She underwent surgery and was bedridden only five years ago. Today she says she has been gifted a second life and this time it's her daughter who gave her birth," she said, who took to lifting weights only eight years ago at the insistence of her husband, Dr Vaibhav Inamdar, who is also her coach.
"Till then, like most women, I went to the gym only for zumba or yoga, and went trekking on weekends. Then one day I saw some boys doing calisthenics and was intrigued. But when I attempted a push-up, I fell flat on the floor," she said. That changed her perception about fitness and the ayurvedic doctor decided to put into practice what she had studied. "I postgraduated in preventive social medicine, which is all about longevity, how to stay healthy and fit without medicines," she said. "Within six months, I could do 25 push-ups, 12 pull-ups and 12 double-bar dips," she said.
Inamdar, who stands 160cm tall at 54kg doesn't sport a bulky frame. What she is equally proud of is her success rate in doping tests carried out by national and international agencies before competitions.

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