This record-breaking powerlifter lifts with his heart7 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
Meet 19-year-old record-breaking powerlifter, Varun Dave. He is also an engineering student, a model and an actor. At the age of 18 and with a bodyweight of 53 kgs, Varun could deadlift a whopping 180 kilograms! He’s even be titled ‘The Strongest Man’ in the state of Gujarat.
But even though he’s won two international championships, Varun likes to follow his heart. He isn’t too concerned with winning and believes that he always come out stronger after a loss. Stick around to see how Varun Dave does it, and to listen to the message that he has to share with the world.
How did it all begin?
I have been powerlifting for five years now. It all started in 2017 at the age of 15.
I always knew that I wanted to represent my country in a sport and become a sportsperson. In fact, I tried my hand at many sports: I played basketball, football and even cricket. But I was never too good. I wasn’t even selected to join my class teams.
Nevertheless, I didn’t lose hope. During my vacations in the tenth grade, I started powerlifting. That was when this journey began for me.
My sister inspired me. She used to play a game called Kurash (a wrestling game) that is similar to judo. When I saw her at practice and training sessions, I wanted to start playing Kurash as well. So I joined the same gym.
That’s where I met her coach, who said that he would make me a powerlifter instead. So, I started it as a vacation activity. Little did I know that powerlifting would become my passion and path in life.
When did he realise his passion?
It was on the journey back from a national tournament when I realised that I wanted to be a powerlifter for India. I often had dreams that I was playing for team India and winning a medal. However, I was never certain of which sport I was playing.
This time on the train, when I had the dream, it was slightly different. I was sure of the fact that I was winning a medal for powerlifting. Then, something strange happened. I don’t if it was just a coincidence, but when my seniors woke me from my dream, they told me that the association had released a new Team India list. I still remember that my name was the seventh name on the list. It said “Varun Pradip Dave, Team India”. I didn’t know if what was happening was real!
His biggest achievement.
Breaking Gujarat’s powerlifting records. I also won the strongman trophy in Gujarat- my home state. The youngest man to have won the award until then was twenty-eight years old — and it was my coach. I won it at the age of seventeen. It was a great achievement for both my coach and me.
How did he become the strongest man in Gujarat?
I have not taken a single holiday in the last five years. That’s how hard I work on a regular basis on my passion. As an engineering student, I go to college from 7 am to 5 pm. I then attend extra classes and tuitions until 7:30pm, after which I finally go to the gym.
Parties and outings aren’t really for me. My main focus is going to the gym at 7:30. I then work out until my heart desires. I stay at the gym until 10pm. Sometimes I even stick around until midnight
What inspires him?
I reached where I am from nowhere. I have nothing to lose because I came from zero. When you come from zero there is nothing for you to lose, so I keep working hard and keep hustling.
Where does he see himself in ten years?
I see myself as a powerlifter playing at a much higher level. I don’t compete with anyone as I am my own biggest competition. There will be losses and wins, but I’ll never stop practising.
How does he unwind?
To be honest, when I want to unwind, I double my time at the gym. I go there early morning and rest there till I start my evening session.
His message to young readers.
Don’t be disheartened even if you feel as though you haven’t found something you excel at. Once you find something you want to do from the heart, just do it. Don’t force anything.
I have been bullied because I was short, looked younger than my age and didn’t get great marks in my exams. Even my teachers called me good-for-nothing. I could write a book about all the terrible things that have been said to me.
But don’t worry, take everything on with a smile. You must remember that you are always stronger than you think.
(Trailblazers 2.0 is a bi-monthly column where we feature inspiring adults who are doing great things, in their own way)
Would you like to nominate someone you know to be featured in this column? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, and what makes them a Trailblazer.