Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2016-06-23 13:07 Mangaluru: Mangaluru’s Supritha Poojari believes in living one’s dreams. She also believes that women can achieve anything if the family is behind them. It is this self-confidence and never-give-up attitude that guided Supritha to 3 bronze medals in the 72kg category in the 2016 Asian powerlifting championships held in Udaipur and a gold medal in the 2011 Commonwealth Games in London. Humble to a fault, Supritha spoke to Bfirst about her life, success and future goals. Can you give us a glimpse of your early life? My parents are Vijay Kumar and Shailaja and I was brought up in Mangaluru. I completed my schooling at Mullakad School and university studies in Besant College. Earlier, I was interested in kho-kho, kabbadi, and hockey. I was also into athletics and also got selected for nationals. My mother’s dream to see me achieve something spurred me on. What inspired you to choose powerlifting? Admission to SDM College, Ujire, under sports quota led me to new heights. This was the time when I switched over from athletics to weightlifting and powerlifting. But it was not a bed of roses for me. Losing my father during PUC was a major setback. I took up driving classes during the day and attended college in the evening. My uncle Krishna took care of us and also encouraged me to follow my dreams. Can you speak about some of the difficulties you faced? Every step I took had some problems or the other. Partiality and indifference were common problems. I used to feel sad but being strong I never looked back.Influence and money power play a major role everywhere, and since I did not have any of the two, expenses for competitions worried me the most. For example, I could not afford the dress worn for powerlifting as it very expensive (Rs18,000). Who were your main sponsors at national and international events? I had no sponsors for national events. I participated with the money I had saved. International events were also a huge drain and a big burden. For the Commonwealth Games I got Rs50,000 from the government but no other financial support nor any sponsors. Nagraj Shetty, Krishna Palemar, Asha Jyothi Rai and some of the associations here used to give some money which kept me going. Who is your role model in this field? I don’t have a role model as such. For me the biggest thrill was seeing a medalist on the podium. Seeing the medalist, I would visualise myself standing on that stage. That spurred me on. I was also named as ‘Strong Woman of India’ thrice. To set records is my aim and this dream is still alive. What is the special diet you follow? Weightlifters, powerlifters have a special diet which they have to follow. They have to consume eggs, chicken, mutton and dry fruits on daily basis. It almost costsup to Rs15000 per month and therefore I am not able to follow the diet strictly. I try to manage with what is prepared at home. There is a misconception that powerlifting is mostly for men. What do you have to say about that? I have not heard of such things. I do what I do out of my own accord. These comments do not bother me at all. This is my dream and I want to live my dream. Do you have any plans to open a training school in Mangaluru? Yes, I have plans but the process is difficult. I want to train those who are interested and help them realize their dreams. There are no personal coaches in Mangaluru for women. Sadhan Rai Reddy trains me and helps me prepare schedules for training. I am already training children in kabaddi and kho-kho at Parapadhe and Mullakhad School for free. What are the most memorable events of your life? I have been selected as the captain of the Indian team. The most memorable one is the 3 bronze medals in 3 different categories and an overall bronze medal and gold medal in different categories in Commonwealth Games in London. I look forward to participate more in the World Games. What is the message you would like to give our readers, especially women? Interest is what matters. Even if you are from a poor family, dedication will take you a long way. Support and help from family is necessary in every step. Women can achieve anything, especially when there is support from family. We can achieve great things. I say with conviction, ‘Go ahead, and make Mangaluru, Karnataka, India proud.’ I feel sad to say that I have not got any financial support from the government. I hope in future the government and private sponsors come out and support individuals like me so that we can make our nation shine in the world.