Veteran powerlifter Gaurav Sharma on Wednesday said that he is gearing up for the world’s strongest man competition, starting from November 11 in Florida.
The event, which was originally scheduled to take place May 20 to 24, was postponed due to the coronavirus scare. The qualifying rounds will now take place November 11 to 12 while the finals will be held on November 14 to 15.
Speaking to IANS, former World champion Gaurav said that he is leaving no stone unturned to make India proud in Florida.
“I am rigorously following my training under my coach Bhupinder Dhawan sir. I was supposed to go in May but after the event got postponed, I got more time to work on my strength.”
“During the time of lockdown, I used to pick up motorcycle, push heavy cars in parking. I have worked very hard for this competition,” said the 6.3ft giant, weighing 163kg.
Gaurav, who is also a ‘mahant’ (priest) in a temple in Chandni Chowk, was last year conferred with the prestigious Mahatma Gandhi Leadership Award in London.
The powerlifter further said he wants to promote the sport in India. “I want to increase the popularity of powerlifting in India. Our country has a lot of potential in this sport and we have a host of Indian powerlifters who have won accolades at the international level,” he added.
“Apart from training I also guide youngsters at my gym. I still want to compete for a few more years. But after I retire, I will devote myself to coaching to further popularise this sport all over India.”
Gaurav, who took up powerlifting at the age of 17, is a giant of the sport. He had won two gold medals at the European Championships last year. He had also set a new world record with a lift of 242 kilograms.
“For any athlete it is an honour to represent India and when the tricolour goes high, you can’t express that feeling,” Gaurav said.
The Delhi athlete also clinched two gold medals at the 2016 World Powerlifting Championships in England. In 2007, he won four gold medals at the Commonwealth Championships in New Zealand.
Initially starting out as a weightlifter, Gaurav later switched to powerlifting under the guidance of Dronacharya awardee coach Dhawan. He is now also learning shooting as well under coach Falaq Sher Alam. Last year, he participated in Delhi State Shooting championship (10m pistol event) and won a bronze medal.
“Shooting is something that helps me keep calm. I will try to participate in more shooting competitions after the World strongest event,” he concluded.