Majiziya Bhanu: A tale of overcoming odds and social barriers
The story of Kerala's first ever Hijab-clad bodybuilding champion.
In a huge shot in the arm to the evolving world of women's sports and athletics, 23-year-old Majiziya Bhanu's grit and determination took her all the way to the title round of the Kerala Bodybuilding Championship in Kochi in which she emerged as the champion, sending social media into a tizzy for becoming the first ever woman from her state to win the competition while sporting a hijab.
In a race against time to get to the competition after winning the bench press competition in Alapuzzha, Majiziya arrived at the venue clad in a tight black suit and a headscarf. She then blazed her way through in the finals, exhibiting her skill through four poses that impressed the judges and also landed her the gold medal. As she lifted her arms up in the air, the crowd stood in awe and amazement of the 23-year-old's achievement.
Fighting against the odds
Trying to figure her way out through a male-dominated sport, Majiziya's journey to stardom is inspiring and can easily double up as an example of the famous saying that goes 'Nothing is Impossible'.
A final-year BDS student at the Mahe Institute of Dental Sciences, Majiziya claims to have taken up a special liking for athletics and other sports during her childhood which made the transition into powerlifting that much more easier for her.
Having developed a keen eye for boxing, the then 21-year-old took her first steps to pursue a career in the sport but was soon forced to cut short her dream since she wore braces at that time which posed as a danger in the ring.
In what can be termed as her lucky break, she then shifted her focus to powerlifting and tasted fantastic success, earning a huge name in a short burst of time. Three-time winner of the 'Strong Woman of Kerala', Majiziya also clinched the silver medal in the Asian Powerlifting Championship which was held in Alapazzhu last year.
With outstanding success from the powerlifting arena, Majiziya opted to try her luck at bodybuilding after taking a liking to some videos of Egyptian women bodybuilders. She then trained for a whole year and although she did not put her talent to test in other competitions, enrolled in the Mr. Kerala tournament with a lot of support from her friends and close aides.
Showering praise on her parents for constantly giving her the freedom to pursue her dreams, she also credits her fiancee for constantly pushing her to apply for the competition. As is the case with any sports star, a coach's role can never be undermined and this is no different in the Keralite's case.
Reminiscing her times during childhood, the weightlifter also credits her coach Jayadas for bringing her to the stage she currently stands on. Ascribing her coach for giving her the courage to take up the challenge, Majiziya has now set her eyes on participating in the World Powerlifting Championships and hopes to see powerlifting as part of the National Games in the near future.