63-Year-Old Kochi Homemaker Shines with Four Golds at International Powerlifting Championships

**Reeni Tharakan: From Gym Newbie to Powerlifting Champion**

Reeni Tharakan, a 63-year-old woman from Thycattusserry, near Cherthala, embarked on her fitness journey a decade ago with a simple goal: to lose weight and maintain her health. Little did she know that this decision would lead her to become an international powerlifting champion, winning four gold medals in her category at the prestigious International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Classic & Equipped Masters Powerlifting Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Reeni’s venture into the world of powerlifting began when she first stepped foot inside a gym. The experience was completely new to her, as she admitted, “I did not know what a dumbbell was or a kettlebell.” However, with the guidance and encouragement of her trainer, Jagan KG, she soon discovered her potential and started lifting weights.

Speaking over the phone from Thycattusserry, Reeni shared, “My trainer, Jagan KG, encouraged me to lift weights right from the start. He saw my interest and understood my capability, and encouraged me to lift.” She also credits the unwavering support of her immediate family, including her husband and two daughters, for her success in the sport.

Reeni’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges, as she faced criticism from traditional and conventional families who questioned her decision to pursue powerlifting at her age. Despite the lack of approval, she remained determined and focused on her goals.

At the IPF World Classic & Equipped Masters Powerlifting Championships, Reeni competed against 145 weightlifters from 44 countries. She participated in the M3 category, which is open to individuals aged 60 and above. Reeni was amazed by the level of talent and dedication displayed by her fellow competitors. She was particularly struck by an octogenarian Japanese man who outlifted younger participants with the help of a walking stick. The presence of a significant number of women in the competition also opened her eyes to the growing popularity of powerlifting among women.

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Impressed by the fitness levels of her competitors, Reeni spoke highly of the Indian contingent, which consisted of 25 members, including 15 women. To ensure she was in peak physical condition for the competition, Reeni traveled three times a week from Thycattusserry to Kochi, covering a distance of approximately 37 kilometers, just to work out at Mr Standard Gym in Vyttilla. She devoted close to two hours to training on those days, while the remaining three days were dedicated to home workouts. She also emphasized the importance of maintaining her weight within the prescribed range for her category, following a keto diet to achieve this.

Reeni’s achievement at the IPF Championships is not an isolated incident. Earlier this year, she also won a medal at the Asian Women’s Equipped Powerlifting Championships held in Alappuzha. In fact, Reeni only started competing in powerlifting in 2021 but has already secured medals at the district level competitions. She attributes her success to the unwavering support and encouragement provided by Jagan and Jerry Lopez, the owner of Mr Standard Gym.

According to Jagan, Reeni has played a significant role in inspiring more women to take up weightlifting. Her determination and dedication have not only transformed her own life but have also served as a source of inspiration for others.

Reflecting on her extraordinary journey, Reeni enthusiastically stated, “Everybody should lift weights. It is critical… do it for your bones, body, and general health.” Her advice serves as a testament to the remarkable benefits that fitness and strength training can bring to individuals of all ages.

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Reeni Tharakan’s incredible transformation from a gym newbie to an international powerlifting champion is a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and unwavering support. Her story serves as an inspiration to individuals around the world, proving that age is never a barrier to achieving greatness in any field.

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