Srinagar: He set his mark in bodybuilding at bigger arenas and once competed with top notches in the finiteness industry. A gym buddy of WWF wrestler Great Khali these days, he is popularising bodybuilding in Kashmir by organising various competitions both at amateur and professional levels.
Meet Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khan from Khayam, who is luring youth to make a chiseled physique to live a healthy life and make a career in bodybuilding, which otherwise is the least career choice for youth in Kashmir.
“Living a disease-free life is a blessing and it is only possible when you are fit. Right now, I am associated with the fitness industry and encouraging youth to make a career in bodybuilding,” he said.
Khan who has been doing bodybuilding for over 25 years is organiser for top-level competitions in Kashmir and the rest of the country.
“We organise Mr North India, Mr Kashmir competition and district level competitions in Kashmir. It is good to see that we get much youth who have a great physique and work to make their profession in bodybuilding,” Khan said.
His journey into the field of bodybuilding has not been less than an inspirational story. From taking regular lessons in Judo and Karate to training with Great Khali, he emerged winner in many top body-building competitions of the country.
“My journey began at the age of 15 when I was training Judo to satisfy my appetite for fitness. Later I joined gym and simultaneously took lessons from Late Ben Weider, who is being known as father of bodybuilding. I used to write letters to him and he would respond with magazines and letters to train me in bodybuilding,” he said.
“ Later I got admitted in Punjab National School of Bodybuilding in 1998 and during the course I used to train with The Great Khali who was known as Dilip Singh Rana then under the mentorship of Dr Randir Kumar Hastir. So, far I emerged runner up North India Body Building and Mr Kashmir,” Khan said.
Khan is currently serving as the president of World Fitness Federation and Powerlifting India. He is training young athletes at Srinagar’s indoor stadium. “I want our children to make a mark in sports and compete with stalwarts in various fields of sports,” he said.
Khan believed that the inclination of youth towards sports can tackle the increasing drug addiction in the valley. “We are hopeful to see Mr Asia and other top-level athletes from Kashmir in coming years. Sports inculcate discipline in a person and keep him or her away from drugs and unhealthy foods,” he said.