Image Credits: Fistosports
In the underground world of teen powerlifting, there exists competitive athletes who have a passion for lifting big. These guys are ahead of their time by decades and the weight they throw around will motivate you to go just as hard.
One such beast is the 16-year-old Varun Dave from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Young Varun started lifting weights only two years ago, and after a few months decided to go join a commercial gym where Pankaj Trivedi noticed his potential as a powerlifter and motivated him to take the sport seriously. Talk about being a visionary! Once he discovered the sport of Powerlifting in high school he immediately fell in love and knew this was exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
He did his first competition in 2017 with two consecutive losses but shortly after sought out by Mr.Indar Gurjar who wanted to push his potential to the next level and since then, he has made incredible progress, triumphing at the state championships, the nationals and international stage. In the space of two years, he has amassed over 20+ medal including the Mr.World gold medal he won at the World Powerlifting Championship in 2018, while currently holding the state records of youngest player to win the Gold medal in U-26 category. Yet despite enjoying considerable success at the age of 16 already, the Alpha College of Engineering and Technology student remains as ambitious as ever.
Have you always been a sports fanatic and how did powerlifting happen? Did you play any other sport growing up? And how would you define your journey till now?
So powerlifting also kind of came about mostly by accident I knew I always wanted to try out different sports at any sort of but I started powerlifting when I was on a vacation at 10th standard, I started to vent out my frustration of people criticizing me on my short height. So, my journey has been so much of ups and downs till now.
What do you like best about powerlifting and why?
I just love powerlifting and this game has given me a recognition that he is a Varun Dave and he has achievements in this.
Any tough moments (set backs, rejections, injuries, basically anything difficult that you have had to overcome) or was it all just plain sailing?
I had lost one State Championship, one district championship and then with bang winning gold medals in state national and international.
Varun's with his coaches Indarsinh Gurjar (right) and Shree Pankaj Trivedi (left)
What is your favorite lift – squat or bench press or deadlift or all three?
Deadlift is my favourite lift because it is my plus point which adds more weight in my total.
Who do you look upto in the fitness industry like role model and why?
I look up to Mr.Indarsinh Gurjar and Mr.Irfan Ansari.
Competing at such a young age, how did you juggle studies with sport?
It is very hard but somehow I manage my studies in morning and practice at night.
Who has been the person behind your accomplishments in the sport?
The person behind my achievements is Mr.Pankaj Trivedi and Mr.Indar Gurjar and obviously my family.
How many meets do you compete in each year? And which one is the toughest?
I play district championship then state and then nationals and then if possible worlds.
Varun with his mom
What are your biggest/ Best Personal Record's – squat, bench press, deadlift and total numbers right now?
My highest lifts are: Squat: 120kg Bench: 70kg Deadlift: 160kg Till today at the body weight of 53kg.
What has been the most favorite moment so far in your powerlifting career?
My most favourite moment was at the World Championships I hear “and the first place goes to Varun Dave from India and then the National anthem was played on the background specially for me and I was holding the tricolor.”
List down your achievement so far in the powerlifting?
Gold in Ahmedabad District Powerlifting Championship. Gold in Gujarat State Sub-Junior Powerlifting Championship. Gold in Indian National Junior Powerlifting Championship. Gold in Indian National Sub-Junior Powerlifting Championship. Mr.World Gold medal at the World Powerlifting Championship. Two bronze medal (both junior and sub-junior category) at the IHFF Olympia Powerlifting Championship.
How has powerlifting made you a stronger person away from the sport?
They said I was too skinny and short as a young boy... so with hard work and dedication I am a champion powerlifter now. Powerlifting has made me physically and mentally so powerful that this game has made me a star really.
Varun receiving the Gujarat's award for excellence in sports in 2018
Powerlifting is tough as it requires incredible amount of power, what have you altered, modified or completely changed?
First, I used to be small heighted skinny boy to well muscular body was a great change for me.
What are your current plans and goals for the future?
My current goals and future goals are the same thing. Be one of the best powerlifters I can possibly be and help others along the way. If you want to make a name for yourself in a sport like I do then you have to help other people and give back to the sport and make the nation proud.
What’s your favorite movie ever? Sultan
Food craving: Chinese fried rice
Top tracks you listen to? Kar Har Maidaan Fateh..
One accomplishment you’re most proud of? I am proud of the tricolor at my t-shirts, jackets, kitbag and all.