Bangladesh’s first female bodybuilding champion Awhona Rahman said on Monday she did not want to rest on her laurel and would love to represent Bangladesh internationally.
Awhona beat 29 other competitors to emerge champion in the country’s first-ever bodybuilding competition for the girls that ended at the National Sports Council auditorium on Sunday.
Fitness fanatic girls in tight legging and body-hugging outfits flexed their muscles in the competition, with the authorities replacing bikinis for a long dress to avoid any controversy.
‘I am really happy. I can’t express my feeling because I really worked hard for it,’ said 19-year old winner Awhona.
‘Now I want to participate in the international meets. I know international competitions are different. But my family is not that conservative. I hope they will allow me [to participating in international meets,’ she said.
Officials of Bangladesh Bodybuilding Federation said they had to be careful about selecting the outfit for the girls before the competition.
‘We were very careful about the dress code considering our religious and social culture. That’s why we selected long sleeve crop top and leggings for the girls,’ said Nazrul Islam, the general secretary of the Federation.
College student Awhona said she never hesitated to join the competition as they were already informed of the dress code by the organisers.
‘I never hesitated. It never came to my mind that people would criticise me for showing body. My brother, who runs a fitness centre, always s encouraged me,’ she said.
‘I did not pay heed to what people said as we were told there would be proper dress code for the meet. The dress that was given it was perfect from a Bangladeshi perspective,’ she added.
Awhona’s elder brother Rayhan runs a fitness centre in Dhaka’s Siddeshwari area, where she had trained.
‘Here every day between 12:00pm to 4:00pm about 120 girls train in a closed session. Some of them are overweight, some are a diabetic patient. I joined there as I felt I should lose some weight,’ Awhona said.
‘My brother later encouraged me to take bodybuilding as a sport. We had another girl from the fitness centre of my brother finished fifth in the competition,’ she added.
The organisers were happy with the initial response.
‘We got a huge response from the participants for the first competition. It was really encouraging for us,’ said general secretary Nazrul, adding the goal is to create ‘awareness about health, anti-ageing lifestyle and fitness’.
Nazrul hoped that it would also help create job opportunities for women in the country’s growing number of gymnasiums where many women have got memberships.
Champion Awhona also set her goal to work as a fitness instructor.
‘I am still a student. Next year I will appear in HSC examinations. Once I finish my study I hope to work as a fitness instructor,’ she said.
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