Mr. India 2011
Wow! It’s now here – the ultimate title every iron warrior in the country dies for; a glory which forces an athlete to push himself beyond the threshold of pain and agony; an honour that many consider worth more than their lives; a fame which hardly finds place in the pages of reputable sports journals, yet considered the ‘nectar of immortality’ by iron pumpers.
‘Senior Mr. India 2011’ – the contest sizzled right from the beginning. The adrenaline rush experienced by every contestant and his loyal fans is inexplicable.
My team members and I were present at the 51st Senior National Body Building Championship, which was organised by Jaya Karnataka and Muthappa Rai Sports Foundation, at Anekal on April 9 and 10.
How long have fans like me waited to see a body building championship being organised on a par with a festival! It was a dream come true when the honorary president of Karnataka Body Building Association, Muthappa Rai, organised cultural events and procession to mark the opening ceremony of the contest. The gentleman left no stone unturned in making ample arrangements for fool-proof security at the venue. Security persons cordoned off the entire locality and cars were stopped on a service lane leading to the ground. National-level judges alone were allowed near the dais and barricades separated the huge crowd from the rows reserved for VIPs.
Large screens put up at select spots on the ground provided the audience with live footage of the musclemen, who were flexing on the stage several hundred feet away from them. Though hardcore fans like yours truly couldn’t get close to the stage and click pictures for themselves, it’s a welcome trend to conduct competitions in an organised manner and provide the players ample freedom from crowd menace as it is being done in other popular sports. Hats off to Mr. Rai and the association for organising such a fantastic show and showering the participants with huge cash prizes.
Hell of a fight
Before I start analysing the placings in each category, I would like to say that this was one of the toughest contests held in the recent times. Save for a few champions who were outstanding, the gap between all the competitors in every class was close. With that point made clear, I will focus on select champions in each weight category.
55 kg category
K. Haribabu of Tamil Nadu was looking good at the prejudging but great at the finals. This is the best form of Hari I have seen in the recent years, though he was looking a bit flat. He took home the first place trophy while Sunil Sakpal of Maharashtra and P. Sudhakar of Telangana took second and third respectively.
- Kothandaraman (left) & Haribabu
60 kg category
S.K. Mustaque of West Bengal won gold and Jai Singh of Punjab, silver. Judges had to call for comparisons to choose the first place winner. Singh, who won this title last year in Goa, was not that dry. Perhaps, this could have cost him the title. Anoop Raj of Kerala and Ramachandra Bhat of Goa were also pretty close to each other. The biggest disappointment to me was my friend Kothandaraman placing fifth. Going by the way he looked at the team selection, I felt Kothandam would win gold. However, he looked different at the show. It appeared as if the carbs he had consumed were not enough to load his muscles as he was flat, especially in his shoulders. But, that is not the end of the game. I am sure he will bounce back in terrific form with a vengeance.
65 kg category
Hiralal of Punjab set the stage on fire even as he walked in, displaying a mind blowing physique. There was no competition for this great champion, who brought home the Mr. Asia title last year. T. Vignesh of Tamil Nadu placed second, and it was a great achievement considering the fact that this was his first nationals. Shrinivas of Maharashtra placed third.
70 kg category
There was a close fight for the title in this class between Ibranta Singh of Manipur and Sonal Padmanabhan of Karnataka. The former was thick, hard and full, while the latter, dry and hard. Judges should have had a tough time in choosing Singh as the winner because the decision could have gone any way.
from left : Ranjith kumar, Arunachalam & Vignesh
75 kg category
The gold medal went to Parvesh Kumar of Punjab, who clearly looked like the leader of the pack. However, Barun Yumnam of CRPF and Ashish Sakharkar of Maharashtra were fighting for the runner-up spot. In a close decision, Sakharkar won silver and Yumnam got bronze. This was a category in which the competitors looked too monstrous for their weight. Some of the top-five finishers were looking as if they weighed 5 to 10 kg more than the stipulated weight limit!
Team Masters was disappointed when former national champion Ranjith Kumar of Tamil Nadu was out of top five! That should give the fans an idea of how tough the show would have been.
80 kg category
Suhas Khamkar of Maharashtra was cut above the rest and the clear winner. However, I personally felt that something was not ok with the music which was played for his free posing round. Was that the disc Khamkar brought for his posing or was he told to pose for a common music disc present at the venue?
Roshi Kumar of CRPF placed second and Tijender Singh of Uttarkhand, third. I remember seeing Singh at the 2007 Federation Cup Mr. India held at Salem, Tamil Nadu. Singh has made tremendous progress since then. However, had he been a tad drier, he could have grabbed the runner-up spot.
85 kg category
Here was a champion, who walked on the stage like a mini Ronnie Coleman and blew away the competition! I am hesitant to say anything more about this person for the fear of my statement being dismissed as body building hyperbole.
Sangram Chougle of Maharashtra dominated this class and made it clear to the fans that he would be the guy who can someday stop Khamkar from winning the overall title. However, friends of mine who sat by my side said that Chougle was not as dry as he was at the Federation Cup Mr. India.
Multi-Mr. India Amit Choudhry of Uttar Pradesh won silver and N.G. Randhir of CRPF, bronze. Another classic champion from Uttarkhand, Amit Chettri, placed fourth. I saw him last at the Salem nationals, and, compared to that performance, he has packed on a lot of thick muscle on that beautiful frame of his. That Chettri still retains a tight midsection and his classic lines despite the size gain is incredible. If he nails his conditioning spot-on, he can move up even three places.
90 kg category
Rex Verghese, representing Kerala, won the top prize, while Satyanarayana, representing Karnataka, emerged runner-up. Momotomba of CRPF placed third. Former Mr. India A.K. Rari was huge, but not very dry. The veteran champion finished fourth.
100 kg category
Pritam of CRPF beat an incredible Jayakumar of Tamil Nadu to win gold in this category. Mahendra Pagde of Maharashtra finished a close third behind Jayakumar.
100 + kg category
Vinay Kumar of Delhi pushed former Mr. India Kamaraj to second place. Team Masters is of the opinion that Kamaraj has not been able to replicate his terrific form of 2003 or 2007, in which he was unbeatable. However, this ‘big guy’ from Tiruchendur in Tamil Nadu has still a lot more to show his fans and Team Masters believes that his best is yet to come.
Champion of champions
The fight for the ultimate glory was intense. Reigning champion Khamkar had a challenger in Chougle, who had the potential to unseat the king from the throne. However, the champion was drier than the challenger.
The night of April 10, 2011, will be remembered by fans for witnessing one of the fiercest of fights. In the end, the reigning champion prevailed, thanks to his conditioning and muscle maturity.
Khamkar was presented a beautiful trophy and a cash prize of Rs. five lakh.
L. Ibranta Singh of Manipur won the most improved bodybuilder award.
Team championship went to Maharashtra and CRPF was runner-up.
Here is how the competitors finished in the top five places of each weight category:
1. K. Hari Babu -Tamil Nadu
2. Sunil Sakpal – Maharashtra
3. P. Sudhakar – Telangana
4. Nitin Mhatre – Maharashtra
5. Sandesh P Salvi – Vidharba
1. S.K. Mustaque – West Bengal
2. Jai Singh – Punjab
3. Anoop Raj – Kerala
4. Ramachandar Bhat – Goa
5. M. Kothandaraman – Tamil Nadu
1. Hira Lal – Punjab
2. D.Vignesh – Tamil Nadu
3. Shrinavas Kjarvi – Maharashtra
4. Nitin Sharma – Uttar Pradesh
5. Deepak – Delhi
1. L. Irbanta Singh – Manipur
2. Sonal Padmanabhan – Karnataka
3. Rajul Joiri – Maharashtra
4. P Anand Babu – Karnataka
5. P H Pramot Meeti – CRPF
1. Parvesh Kumar – Punjab
2. Ashish Sakharkar – Maharashtra
3. Barun Yumnam – CRPF
4. Prahlad – Delhi
5. Dashrath Dalvi – Maharashtra
1. Suhas Khamkar – Maharashtra
2. I Roshi Kumar – CRPF
3. Tijender Singh – Uttarkhand
4. Durga Parsad Dasri – Maharashtra
5. Maesh Rao – Maharashtra
1. Sangram Chougle – Maharashtra
2. Amit Choudhry – Uttar Pradesh
3. N G Randhir – CRPF
4. Amit Chettri – Uttarkhand
5. Amir Syad – Vidharba
1. Rex Varghese – Kerala
2. R.J. Sathayanaraya – Karnataka
3. A. Momotomba – CRPF
4. A K Rari – Telangana
5. K Ashish – Andhra Pradesh
1. K H Pritam – CRPF
2. V Jaya Kumar – Tamil Nadu
3. Mahendra Pagde – Maharashtra
4. Lavin K – Karnataka
5. Danish Mirza – Delhi
1. Vinay Kumar – Delhi
2. M Kamraj – Karnataka
3. Vijay Bhardwaj – Delhi
4. Rajnikant Parmar – Gujarat
5. Manjunath H E – Karnataka
Note : As I’m yet to get all the photographs from the show, I’m posting pictures taken by my friend Siva Shankar, which he has shared with me. I have also posted some pictures taken by Team Masters at the selections for Tamil Nadu team.
– C. Lakshmi Kumar