Mr. Mahesh Maharjan (World Body building) made us all proud as he secured gold on 10th World Bodybuilding and Physique sports Championships in 75 KG category, held in Thailand. Carrying the triangular-shaped Nepal’s flag on his shoulder during the award ceremony, Maharjan cried with joy when Nepal’s national anthem was played.
“There is a system where national anthem of the winner’s country is played at the award ceremony. Therefore, the organizer played Nepal’s national anthem. When the anthem hit my ears, I recalled my struggles of the past. I especially remembered my family, relatives and all the well-wishers who support me financially and emotionally. Tears simultaneously rolled down my cheek,” said Maharjan.
Bodybuilding- an expensive sport
According to Maharjan, bodybuilding is one of the expensive sports where you have to keep spending a lot. He spent Rs 80,000 every month on his diet. Throughout his 8-months preparation for Mr World, he spent around Rs 600,000 on diet. Besides, supplementary are not easily available. Consequently, he ordered the supplementary from US, Singapore, and Bangkok. “It cost me double to order them from abroad,” He informed.
Convert negative comments into strength
It was not his first gold though. He bagged his first international gold at the 50th Asian bodybuilding Championship in Thimpu, Bhutan back in 2016. However, Maharjan could not strike gold at the national level that year. He cites an unfair judgment as the major reason for his failure at the national level.
According to Maharjan, he did not get fair judgment at Second Mr Bulls Men Bodybuilding Competition 2016 that was held in Pokhara. Likewise, he also lost in both 14th and 15th Dharmashree respectively. Consequently, people criticized him of being aged and not fit for business. They taunted him of not winning the titles. “Had I taken the criticisms negatively, I wouldn’t win the Mr World title. I decided to convert all the negativity into my strength. I got determined and put in a lot of effort. Finally dream came true as I earned the gold medal at Mr World,” Maharjan shared.
Emptied bank account to compete in Mr World
Since he was from a middle class family, Maharjan hardly could afford bodybuilding. To participate in Mr World, he emptied all his bank accounts. He spent his income and further took a loan from his friend. “I was confident that I could win the gold in Mr World. Somehow I managed my finances to compete in the championship,” Maharjan said.
Skinny kid to Mr World
It is hard to imagine this muscular hunk was once a skinny kid. Now his friends appreciate Maharjan and they have collectively asked him to a grand get-together.
Between grade three to seven, he was very lean. He was underweight until he joined the fitness realm in grade nine. Next to his residence in Naradevi, a senior brother started a gym at the community school. He then joined the gym and started with light workouts.
“As I was just 15 years old, the senior brother suggested not lifting heavy weights. So, I went with light physical workouts like chin-up, push up and lifting light dumbbell,” Maharjan said.
After completing high school, he joined Universal Gym, Naradevi. He never thought he would participate in different national and international competition and win medals.
Enroll in many professions for living
Since, bodybuilding hardly fed him; he had to engage into different other professions also. He started working at a printing press. He was in grade nine then. His first salary was Rs 2,200 which was enough for his diet for the entire month. He then switched to various jobs in call centers, and hotels. He even travelled to the Gulf seeking employment opportunities there.
Lack of support from government
According to Maharjan, government has allocated Rs 600,000 only to conduct a body-building competition. The bodybuilding committee has to annually conduct three championships with the money. This is not enough.
“Sadly, it costs Rs 600,000 just to conduct Mr Nepal. Last year, I requested Rs 300,000 for sponsorship for the preparation of Mr Asia and Mr World. But the government did not release the fund,” Maharjan lamented.
“In other countries, on winning a gold medal for the country, the government rewards the player with USD 30,000. The winner is also entitled to a monthly remuneration of USD 1,000 for entire lifetime. But in Nepal, things are not so attractive. It feels discouraging to share the fact that 11 months after winning Mr Asia, I was felicitated with just a certificate and Rs 100,000. The prize money was less. It is unfair to receive only Rs 100,000 whereas the cost incurred for my preparation was almost Rs 800, 000,” he added.
Mr World is not the end
Maharjan said that Mr World is not the end. He is looking forward to winning the Mr Universe, which is due to be held in 2020. He is physically and emotionally strong but financially not ready for Mr Universe. “I had spent over Rs 1,200,000 for my preparations at Mr World. My expenses will be five times more, while competing for Mr Universe. That means I will have to spend between Rs 6,000,000 to Rs 10,000,000, which is literally impossible,” he said.