Jr. Mr. India 2009
February, 27, Friday afternoon, members of Team Masters packed their bags and left for Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, to attend the 47th Jr. Mr. India.
Competitors and officials had already reached the venue at Guntur on Friday morning as the weigh-in was scheduled that evening.
Members of Team Masters could not take more than a couple of days off from their office and were forced to start from Chennai only on Friday at 4.45p.m. The train touched Guntur at 12.45 a.m. As Team Masters was not a unit of competitors or officials, we had nobody to make arrangements for accommodation.
After much trouble of running around in an unfamiliar town at unearthly hour, we managed to find a lodge at a rent of Rs. 800 a night. It was 1.30 a.m.
As a member of Team Masters was training to compete in Mr. Chennai competition scheduled to be held the following weekend (March 7), he had to practice his mandatory poses for 30 minutes. It was almost 3 a.m.. when all of us could finally get some sleep.
It was 9 a.m., Saturday morning, when we left the lodge for Acharya Nagarjuna University to attend the pre-judging (scheduled at 10 a.m.).
The venue was about 15 km from Guntur, on the highway leading to Vijayawada. Needless to say that autorickshaw fare touched Rs. 200!
The event began two hours behind schedule, after trying the patience of everybody.
Though there were around 130 competitors, some of them need special mention.
There were 22 contestants in 55kg category and competition was tight. It was quite a task for the judges to select the top 10 and then filter out the top 6 for the finals.
In 60 kg category, N. Senguttuvan from Tamil Nadu, the reigning Jr. Mr. India, looked more incredible than ever before. With full, round and well separated muscles, his not-so-great quadriceps muscles were surprisingly well developed. The most unbelievable thing was that Senguttuvan now displayed ripped gluteus!!!
Team Masters had little doubt that this hard-working young man would finish first. However, E. Ponmudy of Tamil Nadu looked big and ripped and threatened to unseat Senguttuvan.
S. Moorthy, who represented Puducherry, was smaller than his usual self, at least in upper body. Though he still displayed a great physique, it was clear that the fear of dope test had made several competitors look less menacing than before.
Y. Venkateswara Rao of Andhra Pradesh kept getting better with each pose he hit. Team Masters felt that he may give Senguttuvan a fight for the title. However, the results that were announced the following evening came as a shock even to us.
In 65 kg category, N. Landan Singh from Manipur was as hard as nails. However, his long torso distracted attention from the amazing condition he had achieved. N. Perumal Durai of Tamil Nadu looked fantastic and fuller than what he did last November but was not his usual freaky-dry. But, he was more balanced and pleasing and could have been given the top spot had the judges voted for balance.
In 70 kg category, S. Madhu Babu of Andhra Pradesh displayed a tremendous X frame. His wide lats, broad shoulders and small waist made him look classic. He utilised every opportunity to display his x-frame like Toney Freeman or Chris Cormier, which needs special praise. Good job, young man. With more size and hardness on all muscles, you can rock the Nationals within the next decade.
Freakiest of all
Sudhanshu Sharma of Uttar Pradesh, who finished first in this class, was easily the freakiest of all competitors in the entire contest. He had a good frame, dense, hard muscle and excellent contest condition. He wasn’t the biggest or the widest but had an awesome combination of all elements to win any show. Team Masters considers him more than Junior Nationals material.
In 75 kg category, SD Karamatulla looked like a monster. Tall, big and confident, he dominated the stage and ate up others who rubbed shoulders with him onstage.
R. Satish from Tamil Nadu looked good but can pack more mass on his upper body.
In the above 75 kg category, Ayon Mazumdar of West Bengal looked cool and confident. His father and former National champion Subhash Mazumdar, his mother and little sister could be seen cheering every pose he hit on stage. It was a heart-warming scene, undoubtedly.
Following the prejudging, Team Masters unearthed a better room to spend the night.
On Sunday, we had an appointment with Mr. India V.M. Basheer. We quickly stuffed ourselves with a high-protein lunch and rushed to our room.
The final posedown was scheduled to be held at NTR Stadium within the town. But, when we went there, it dawned that the event was shifted at the eleventh hour to the good old varsity campus!!!
We were poorer by a couple of hundred rupees when we reached the university. Mr. India Basheer and National Judge Srinivasa Raghavan helped one of our team members find a seat but others had to stand and watch the show for more than an hour.
As we had booked tickets by the train that was scheduled to leave at 10 pm, we had to leave the varsity before the last category placing was announced.
The fact that we could not watch the show till the end, gave us a lot of pain even as our train left Guntur station.
What we couldn’t understand
Team Masters always holds every judging panel in high esteem and never comments about decisions. But, we just could not agree with what the judges thought at this competition, at least in a few cases if not all.
In the 60 kg category, Senguttuvan should have repeated his victory for a second time in a row. However, had freakishness been the deciding factor, Ponmudy should have won hands down.
When the reigning champ was pushed to third place and his freaky adversary to second, we couldn’t help scratching our heads.
‘You need to lift a weight to feel the load,’ so goes an old adage. Organising a major physique competition is of course a mammoth task.
But, organisers should understand that they keep the crowd away from an event when the venue is in a desolate spot. The crowd at India’s ‘second biggest competition’ was far from noteworthy.
What cannot be accepted at any cost is the confusion regarding the rescheduling of the finals without proper information. A couple of champions and even officials, under condition of anonymity, told Team Masters that they had to shell out a lot of money for autorickshaw fare to reach the venue on time. A competitor, if he is stressed before he goes on stage, is sure to hold subcutaneous water which may affect his performance. It’s surprising that many people fail to think about the stress that could affect competitors when they are subjected to a shock in unfamiliar territory.
Last but not least, the selection of competitors for dope test (though a benign move to clean up the sport) was strange, at least to Team Masters. A couple of young musclemen were seen onstage with unseemly lumps on their ‘armour plates’ that had nothing to do with the weight room or protein shaker bottles. But they weren’t among those who were called for test!
The Junior Nationals meet was a true roller-coaster ride.
Top 6 finishers
55 Kg category
I Place – Jagat Jyoti Chakraborty – West Bengal
II – Manoj Kumar Mazumdar – West Bengal
III – Ch. Uma Shankar Rao – Jharkhand
IV – Mayanak Rama – Maharashtra
V – Mukesh Kumar Yadav – Manipur
60 Kg category
I – Pawar Chandrasekar – Maharashtra
II – E. Ponmudi – Tamil Nadu
III – N. Senguttuvan – Tamil Nadu
IV – Y. Venkateshwara Rao – Andhra Pradesh
V – S. Murthy – Puducherry
VI – M. Mohan Kumar – Andhra Pradesh
65 Kg category
I – N. Landan Singh – Manipur
II – N. Perumal Durai – Tamil Nadu
III – N. Murgesan Meitei – Manipur
IV – Dhrubajyoti Chakraborty – West Bengal
V – Rakesh Kumar Mahtre – Madhya Pradesh
VI – Shameel P.P – Kerala
70 Kg category
I – Sudhashu Sharma – Uttar Pradesh
II – S. Luwangningthou Meitei – Manipur
III – Mir Mohd Ali Tabrez – Telangana
IV – Hashique – Kerala
V – AnupRaj S R – Kerala
VI – S. Madhu Babu – Andhra Pradesh
75 kg category
I – Sd. Karamatulla – Andhra Pradesh
II – Mohd. Nawaz – Telangana
III – Amit Gope – Jharkhand
IV – Indranuj Kashyap Das – Assam
V – R. Sathish – Tamilnadu
VI – Ak. Kenar Singh – Manipur
– P. Srimathy, Murtuza S. Rasheed & Murali Vijaykumar