Sunday, 1 February 2015

Lifting as a life-style: Time on the Indian East Coast!

India isn't a place of comparisons, sure you can find its cuisines nestled in every corner of the globe and its peoples trying to influence every sector of every industry, but the uniqueness that hits you on your first 'three wheeled' ride out of the airport is probably the time where you begin to loose yourself and start becoming FUNcomfortable in this concreted jungle!

I took upon a Weightlifting Internship based somewhere in India. I was blessed with the role to continue the development of the Junior Academy leading into the competitive season and the recently started community projects, in the vast tribal regions of south Orissa.

A community project in the near by schools of Lathi village was an enthusiastic welcoming to the east coast. You might expect children to volunteer and put forward their name for certain inter/after school
Sightless positioning_proprioceptive dominance
activities that take their fancy, but over here your selected (to a degree) and boi wasn't the selection process different. Having many small 'whipper snappers' already taking up the stage in Indias youth/junior weightlifting scene, the idea was to select "heavy weights" to partake over the next 6 months in a movement based conditioning program design to promote quality, injury proof, tissue tolerant movers, into timely weightlifters…Well looking for "heavy weights" in two rural schools in largely still tribal communities full of predominately vegetarians, is probably like trying to find out who stole your last banana during a famine.. hard! So, towards anthropometrics (body composition) it was. An ideal weightlifting specimen might look different to each individual and highly unique from each continent to the next, but what I and Cormac were also looking for were healthy-semetrical human beings. Wide faces, aligned teeth, nasal breathers (at rest), big hands, stable upright physiques (though always adaptable), long arms and evidently girls or boys that weighed above 50kg… (Yep heavy weights).  

Time spent with the children and seeing them grow as competent, confident individuals was an awesome experience to be apart of (you can read about the community project here and here, from my good friend Vivek). For the select few senior students that had their first taste of a chaotic weightlifting
Community Crew
environment, only exciting futures are ahead if the nurturing of their talent and love for the sport is looked after. I'm sure Arun and Khalia have got it nailed.


Turning up to smiles and Namastes and the occasional bokeh of flowers, never got boring. Turning up to the academy gym and coaching these lifters was never going to be fluent from the off, though their welcoming, versatile and patient nature made my first few adapting weeks highly integrative. Just over 5 exciting months was spent working with the lifters of Kankia school academy. I had a senior, Mr Cormac and sir Ramesh Chandra Padhi, to help me adjust to these hyper mobile, hyper enthusiastic lifters and offer me a background understanding of the type of athletes I'd be working with. I soon found out that they where a completely different breed to the UK.. "what do you mean no mobility is needed?" (at least limited for most)
There was always room for 'hangs' and 'overhead holds'
#straightarmstrength #adaptable
everyday their nature and thirst for knowledge (and that determination for that extra kilo) was a blessing to coach! One athlete that stuck out a mile off was a little 50kg spring box Ashwin (spelling?). When every maximum day came around he'd prep by himself during the warm-up, handstands for the lockout, speed bear crawls and overhead bits, but when it came to the platform he'd pull under that bar like no other, kissing that floor, and even when the session had finished or he'd miss his final attempt, when ever i'd look away he'd be back up there trying to get that last lift…and that extra kilo. An attitude you can't buy!

But they weren't just full time lifters. Their dedication to their academic and social studies was beyond impressive. Though at times sleep and recovery would be sacrificed and the odd tear would flow in anxiety over exams, this would just demonstrate their continual commitment to making a difference to their unique lives. Truly missing all the lifters!
Academy Girl lifters #rawtalent

My experience wasn't just surrounding Lathi and Kankia. The hours spent keeping mobile in the office chairs, getting involved in deep debated discussions, taking over Berhampur's fruit supplies, being recognised as a local in Tamana, desperately trying to learn the local language and creating friendships to last, thats what made my stay an unforgettable one.

So thats just a small piece of my stay on the East Coast of Orissa. Thank you to everyone that contributed to challenging my beliefs, theories, philosophy, physical capacity and transparent experiences, but a huge acknowledgement to Suheil Tandon (BOSSman) for dedicating your energies to such a magnificent cause 'ProSport Development'. Continue to grow and nurture the authentic talent your producing!


Oh but lets not forget the Mosquitos, thanks for chewing up half my leg and forcing my immune system into true adaptation-overdrive.

p.s. I didn't get ill once.. why? I Stayed Carb'd (banana'd) up to meet my demands! (I win Matt sir).


#FormFollowsFunction..#Ajaya power C+J doubles

be wise. Dhan'yavāda.

Beatle.