“As each year passes within the blink of an eye, I try to learn from my mistakes and am constantly striving to be a better version of myself, irrespective of whether it works or not”
Bodybuilder Mamatha Sanath Kumar has come miles ahead from her rustic roots by defying norms, highlighting, ‘This is not what women must be doing’. She says body-building is largely considered a man’s sport where exposing the musculature and symmetry is considered acceptable by the society.
It was her sheer determination and spirit that has propelled her to such level that today she has a bunch of achievements to her credit, as a bodybuilder. She has been awarded as the pioneering leader in the World Women Leadership, and also has Certificate of Honour in the Karnataka Book of Records, 2021 and in the World Book of Records, London.
She says, “Hailing from Basavapura village in Karnataka, I had several challenges lying ahead of me, the toughest of which was the lack of support from my family. I was told, time and again by my parents and my husband that I must stop displaying my body in shows and on social media. However, I comments I received on social media especially during my initial years of career lauding my family of their support, which in reality was the opposite, made them change their criticism into support. The more such comments my family read, the faster they started to accept me.”
She says she was not always inclined towards bodybuilding or fitness. “In fact, till November 2015, I was overweight. Add my post-pregnancy weight to that and I was almost touching 98 kg. However, something clicked during a winter, and I started working out. By the following November, I was down to 62 kg and already in love with my workouts.”
“I worked sincerely in the gym and was on my way to becoming a trainer. On the other hand, I was contented in dropping my kid to the nursery and receiving my husband after his shift ended. With my husband losing his job towards the end of 2017, our world came crumbling down. After losing his job, there were quarrels in the house that I didn’t want my daughter to witness. As something that came out as an impulsive action out of the circumstances I was in, I decided to become a body-builder.
Mamatha echoes sentiments about how daunting and rare it is for girls like her coming from villages, to pursue the same, she says she decided to do it anyway. She says, “As each year passes within the blink of an eye, I try to learn from my mistakes and am constantly striving to be a better version of myself, irrespective of whether it works or not.”
She says things are changing, albeit, at a slow pace, the stigma against female bodybuilders continues to be fresh, when it comes to mothers from an orthodox family. Nevertheless, Mamatha adds that no such limitations can bind her aspirations. “Stress and hardship teach you that you are capable of surviving and overcoming what was intended for your destruction, as there is no other choice but to move on. And you will move on. You will come out stronger and more successful.”