Bodybuilder sells pakoda s for living

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may consider selling pakoda a suitable job for millions, but the tragedy of award-winning bodybuilder and four-time Mr Odisha Rashmi Ranjan Sahoo is sure to many most sports lovers of the state.

By Sunil Patnaik in Berhampur
  • Published 13.02.18
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Willpower: Rashmi Ranjan Sahoo at a body-building competition in Berhampur. Picture by Gopal Krushna Reddy

Berhampur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may consider selling pakoda a suitable job for millions, but the tragedy of award-winning bodybuilder and four-time Mr Odisha Rashmi Ranjan Sahoo is sure to many most sports lovers of the state.

Sahoo, 27, clinched the title of "Mr Odisha" for four consecutive years from 2013. He also bagged gold medals in many national competitions, including the Federation Cup, Ludhiana, in 2016, and Federation Cup, Patna, in 2018.

But, destiny has forced him to take to the street to sell ' vada' and 'pakudi' (the Odia variant of pakoda) on a pushcart at CRP Square in Bhubaneswar.

Sahoo was one of the star attractions at the recently concluded 15th State Senior Bodybuilding Competition here. He bagged a gold medal in the 80-kg category.

The contest was organised by Rajesh Bodyline Gym Power House under the aegis of Ganjam District Amateur Bodybuilding Association in Berhampur Stadium on February 10 and 11.

Sahoo told The Telegraph that the greatest worry for him was to arrange funds for his bodybuilding expenses.

"Bodybuilding is a very expensive thing to do. But, I can spend very little on my food supplements and nutrition. I also need money to take part in various championships. The biggest problem for me is poverty," said Sahoo, a master's degree holder in Sanskrit from Utkal University.

"I need nutritious food that costs around Rs 15 thousand and food supplements - such as protein - that cost Rs 20 thousand every month. Earlier, I also attempted to contest for the "Mr India" tag despite my financial constraints, but stood in fifth position. If the government kindly considers giving me a job, that will really help pursue my passion and bring to the state more laurels," he said.

Sahoo now lives at a rented house at IRC village in Bhubaneswar along with his family.

"I want to pursue bodybuilding but I have a family to feed to," said Sahoo, a native of Tentola village near Salepur in Cuttack district. He came to Bhubaneswar to pursue his studies and help his father who was a street vendor.

In 2010, Sahoo had joined a gym in Bhubaneswar to increase his body fitness as he was planning to apply for a job in the defence sector. But there, his bodybuilding mentor Jitendra Kumar Jena spotted him and ask him to pursue bodybuilding seriously.

Now, Sahoo trains himself at Tushar Gym at Gada Sahi in Nayapalli from 9pm to 12midnight and again from 10am to 2pm every day.

Recently, he also trained students at Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Bhubaneswar, for a brief period.