A few were shocked when Majiziya Bhanu was announced the winner in the women’s category of the Mr. Kerala competition in Kochi recently. But the one most stumped was Majiziya herself. She had entered the bodybuilding circuit, which is mostly a male bastion, and managed to reconstruct the familiar image of the woman bodybuilder. The 23-year-old posed in a hijab, probably the only woman in the State to do so. And, it was her first time in such a contest.
The last one-and-a-half years were eventful for Majiziya, a final year BDS student from Orkatteri in Kozhikode. As a child, she was into athletics and other sports and had maintained a strong physique.
She took an interest in boxing in 2016, but soon dropped out as she was not allowed to enter the boxing ring wearing braces. She then turned her attention to powerlifting and was declared the ‘Strong Woman of Kerala’ thrice by the Kerala Powerlifting Association. She got silver medal in the Asian Powerlifting Championship in 2017.
The idea of bodybuilding popped up recently. “I was apprehensive about taking part as it involved much skin show,” Majiziya said. “But then I came across some videos of Egyptian women bodybuilders and decided to adopt the costumes they used.”
She did not know how to pose, and being too nervous, couldn’t even smile while on stage. But thanks to fellow male bodybuilders from Kozhikode who encouraged her and officials who tipped her on the importance of smile, she gained confidence by the time she reached the finals. “The clothes were never a problem as the judges were experienced enough to assess a clothed person’s build,” Majiziya explained.
Source of support
She considers her family and fiance, who encourages her in her endeavours, as her greatest strength. Majiziya, who competes in the 52-kilogram category, now dreams of taking part in the World Powerlifting Championship.>