By Mushtaq Bhat
Srinagar, Jan, 15, : When there is a passion, then age is not an obstacle anymore. Mustaq Ahmad Zargar from Srinagar bagged gold medal at the first national Master’s Weightlifting Championship held at Ludhiana Punjab.
Starting with an intention to become physically strong Zargar chose to lift weight and pump iron at the age of 15 in his childhood which eventually turned a boon to him as he even today could prove his mettle at the age of 51 in national and international platforms.
Zargar proved that age is no bar when an individual is determined and dedicated to his sport or particular field.
While chasing his passion with a never-give-up attitude he recently bagged gold at the first national Master’s Weightlifting championship held at Ludhiana Punjab.
He achieved this feat in a recently held event hosted by Ludhiana Masters Weightlifting Association under the aegis of Indian Masters Weightlifting Federation at weightlifting center Guru Nanak Stadium Ludhiana Punjab from December 25- 26 2021.
A total of 140 Athletes from different states and the Union Territories across India participated in this two-day-long National Masters Weightlifting Championship.
“I was inspired by my coach Mushtaq Ahmad (who retired as sports officer) also happened to be serving as a coach in the sports council,” he says.
His passion for the game was so that he even would spend all his pocket money on the balanced diet when his contemporaries would choose to go after fashionable apparel.
“I would not buy another pair even consecutively for a period of six months whereas my friends would chase fashion insanely,” he says.
While congratulating Zargar, J & K Masters Weightlifting Association said they congratulate weightlifting coach J&K sports council Mushtaq Zargar for bringing laurels home by securing the gold medal in the 81 kg weight category.
“The result of your hard work and dedication has blessed you with this gold medal, thus adding another feather on your cap,” they have said.
Zargar hails from Alochi Bagh, Srinagar is currently serving as Manager, Gindun Stadium Rajbagh, has received intermediate education from SP college bachelors and did his Bachelor’s degree from Amar Singh college.
“When I was pursuing a bachelor’s degree at A.S college in 1994, I got enrolled in Netaji Subhas Institute National of Sports (NIS) Patiala, Punjab,” he says.
He has competed in many national and international events and even has served as jury or judge in international weight lifting.
“I served as jury/Judge at Bangkok, Thailand and in Asian championship held in India,” he claims.
He has been awarded Asia’s second strongest-man title in 2015 in a weightlifting competition held at Muscat, Oman.
He has participated in the national rural Weightlifting Weight-lifting championship in 1990, has played national weightlifting championship in 1992 -1993 at Eluru Andhra Pradesh, in 34th national weightlifting championship MP, National weightlifting championship 1992 Nagpur Maharashtra.
He also participated in the 2nd North Indian bodybuilding championship held at Chandigarh in 1997, competed in the Asian power-lifting championship in 2015 where he secured 1st position and won gold.
He has been awarded 2nd strongest man in Asia in 2015, in 2017 Asian bodybuilding and fitness championship.
Zargar had been selected for the Mr. Universe bodybuilding championship which was to be held in Germany. But owing to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic authorities did not issue Indian team visas to travel to Germany.
Zargar started his weightlifting journey in 1988 when he was 8th standard student.
“I started this game in 8th standard, those days there was no such concept of weightlifting in the valley,” he says and added, “My mother, the late Saleema Akhtar has played important role in chasing my passion as she has always supported me, until she was alive she used to keep a ready diet for me.”
In the year 1998 Zargar got appointed to Jammu and Kashmir sports council as a weight lifting coach.
“We used to do our workout at Sheri-e-Kashmir stadium and Bakshi Stadium,” he adds.
Meanwhile, he competed for his first national competition in 1990 at the age of 16 in a rural national championship held at Hisar, Punjab.
He says he has competed in his second nationals held at Eluru Andhra Pradesh.
“After which I started competing incompeting in bodybuilding where I stood 3rd Mr. India,” he claims.
Zargar has also trained numerous youngsters in bodybuilding and weightlifting.
“I have trained thousands of boys in bodybuilding at my gym (Universal Gym) situated at Barzalla,” he claims and adds, “Prior to joining Sports Council I have been training 500 youths every day in my gym.”
He adds some of which have opted for modeling Tariq Tanga and Abid Kapra are few of them.
Talking about the current championship Zargar says the event was delayed owing to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I started competing in Master’s level in 2015,” he says, and added, “this is one criterion for selection trials for world weightlifting championship to be held in the U.S.A.”
He says that they have to now go through another selection trial to qualify for the world championship, the dates, and venues which have not yet been decided.
“Earlier, I was supposed to compete in the world championship held at Germany but owing to a surge in COVID cases in Europe our team was not given a visa,” he says, and added, “I was the lone player from J&K among 22 contingents of weightlifters from India.”
Zargar says he had been preparing for that for the past one and half years which helped him to secure a gold medal in the national masters’ weightlifting championship this year.
He gets irritated when he sees youths smoking and indulging in drug abuse. He suggests youth not to indulge in drug abuse as consumption of the same is ruining their life.
“If I encountered any smoker, my conscience would not allow me to be quiet. I would certainly suggest and prevent them from smoking,” he says.
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