Amandeep realises his bodybuilding dream in Australia

June 5th, 2008 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 5 (IANS) Amandeep Singh had a passion for bodybuilding and won several laurels at the junior level in India before fate landed him up in Australia to fight the adversities of life. But the fire within did not die down and Amandeep battled inner demons to become the first Indian to win the Sydney bodybuilding title at the prestigious Australasian Natural Bodybuilding (ANB) competition at Castle Hill RSL May 25, according to a report in the Indian Link newspaper.

A sell-out crowd at Castle Hill RSL watched the competitors battle for the ANB Sydney Championship. Each bodybuilder performed for two to three minutes, accompanied by their choice of music. In an unprecedented gesture, Singh was not only granted more than five minutes, but his performance was accompanied by the live beats of dhols, played by his trainer Rupi Hothi.

Back home in India, Singh, 24, enjoyed a prosperous bodybuilding career. A two-time junior North India champion, 2005 Punjab champion, Singh was trained by Ramakant Sharma, Mr. World (Middleweight) 2007.

“I was going to go into partnership with Ramakant,” said Singh. “I had the financial backing and the goodwill. I could have gone to Canada or America to compete in bodybuilding competitions.”

Then tragedy struck.

Singh’s mother died suddenly in October 2006 and he found himself in Australia six months later to support his elder sister.

But a fateful meeting with Rupi Hothi re-ignited his old passion. Coincidentally, the pair’s first meeting was at last year’s ANB competition where the duo vowed to start training together for the following year.

“In life, you can succeed if you put in 110 percent and Amandeep is proof of this,” said Hothi, 28, Singh’s personal trainer and best friend.

“I motivated him to push himself further. But he is the one who put the hard work in, he dieted, he trained - all I did was give him an extra push.”

Initially, Singh was training three days a week in three-hour sessions. Gradually this increased to five and then seven days a week, in the month before the competition.

In addition, Singh studied to finish his hospitality and management course during the day, and worked at a petrol station at night to support himself financially.

But it was dieting, an integral part of bodybuilding, that was the toughest challenge.

People around him were astounded by the rapid changes in his body, and accused him of taking steroids. “People used to say, ‘Indians can’t compete in bodybuilding, they’re too skinny’,” said Hothi.

But Singh’s sacrifices paid off when he won the title.

Ron Ziemiecki, the ANB’s General Secretary, explained their decision to allow Singh more stage time.

“We go out of our way to publicly acknowledge anybody who has made a special effort,” Ziemiecki said.

“It takes guts to perform for the first time. Amandeep would have had to wrestle with his demons, all these months of training, he would have had self-doubts and fears,” he added.

“But in a leap of faith, he made a commitment and we wanted to reward that,” Ziemiecki said.

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