Sixteen-year-old Rishita Jain, a student from Prudence School Ashok Vihar, Delhi, said in a phone interview that her dream is to win a gold medal representing her country in her chosen sport: powerlifting. Today, she did just that.
In her debut competition at the global stage, Rishita Jain grabbed 4 gold medals in the 52kg sub-junior category in classic and equipped powerlifting at the 8th Women’s & Men’s Open, Sub/Jr, Junior & Masters Commonwealth Classic & Equipped Powerlifting, Classic & Equipped Bench Press Championships 2019. The event took place in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada from 15 – 21 September 2019.
Rishita has also previously won various national and state-level championships including the six gold medals at the Delhi state Powerlifting Championship 2019 in the 52 kg sub-junior category.
If that’s not impressive enough for a 16-year-old, consider that Rishita just started lifting a year ago, as a way to emulate and spend time with her dad, who’s also a powerlifter in his heydays.
“Initially, I was bit unsure of whether to try powerlifting or not since it’s a male dominant sport, but my dad helped me to overcome the fear. And I also I wanted to try and see how it is. That’s how I started powerlifting and began to like the sport.”
On being asked who has played a big role in is her powerlifting journey so far, she replied, “I would like to give the credits to my family and friends and particularly my dad, who has been very supportive and stood by me throughout my powerlifting journey so far.
“My dad comes to cheer me up in all the competition I participate which is hard because sometime parents are not allowed to be there but he was there with me all the time,” she said.
She also mentions her mentor Mr.Javed Mehta as her primary inspiration.
“My mentor Mr.Javed Mehta has been the source of inspiration and it because of him that I have continued powerlifting. He helped me sharpen my skills. And he has been with me through my ups and downs, especially during my downs and motivated me to fight through.”
Talking about early days of workouts in powerlifting, Rishita says that it didn’t take her long until she realised how much she like the compound movements. “I started with mostly cardio and bodybuilding type of workouts. It didn’t take long until I realised how much I like compound movements, such as deadlift, squat and bench press. Then I started lifting weights starting from 20kg, 25kg, and gradually moved on to 40kg and 50kg and started lifting really heavy weights. I felt in love with powerlifting and it changed my life a lot.”
Rishita also claimed that balancing academics and powerlifting has been quite a difficult task, but she learnt to manage it well. Her school staff has been phenomenally supportive adding school’s principal has been delivering the best possible sports experience for their young athletes.
“My school principal, Dr. Chandra Bhanu Mishra, who has been very much supportive of my sporting career and encourages me to do well every time by offering help in all possible ways.”
“For instance, last year, when I was in 10th standard I had to go to nationals meet, and at the same time I had my board exams. It was very hard as I had to miss my exam and write again. I had to study again, I worked very hard for that because I didn’t have time. But whatever time I had I used to study and I scored 88% marks, which was great. I am really proud of that.”
‘Nature is the way to go’
A typical powerlifter’s diet is full of animal protein, but not for Rishita, who is a proud vegetarian says that meat-eating isn’t a prerequisite for becoming a professional powerlifter. She eats a lot of sprouts and plant-based nutrition.
“People always ask me how I live without eating non-veg, supplements and steroids, but I don’t eat any – not even ‘egg’. I don’t even take protein supplements. Mostly, I eat sprouts, dry fruits, broccoli and tofu etc. Natural is the way to go.”
With supplement abuse commonplace, and athletes succumbing to steroids, it’s an example like her which is refreshing.
When questioned whether she would move to weightlifting professionally, since powerlifting is not part of Olympics, she said that she hasn’t given it a single thought of switching sports, but at the moment she intends to ‘conquer’ in powerlifting only.
Rishita is just at the beginning of a stellar path of achievements and the next step is the Asian Powerlifting Championships, to be held in Dubai, UAE.
“I think I’ve been progressing at a good rate. My studies have been more productive and efficient. I think that every day, I want to try my best, work hard and keep improving to achieve outstanding results and attain greater heights,” she ended.
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