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Real-life Singham: Bodybuilder cop a local hero in Jalgaon

This National Sports Day, let's remind ourselves the need for sporting activities in life. Ravi Vanjari strikes terror in his policeman's uniform but he also finds the time to exercise for three hours every day in his bodybuilding quest.

Real-life Singham: Bodybuilder cop a local hero in Jalgaon

Ravi Vanjari


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 30 Aug 2022 11:49 AM GMT

Maharashtra's Jalgaon, colloquially known as the "Banana City of India" because the region's farmers grow two-thirds of the state's total bananas, has a new identity these days. It is home to the 'Singham' cop whose name makes real-life criminals flee with tails between legs - Ravi Vanjari.

A gold medal winner at the 2018 Asian Bodybuilding Championships, this 'super cop' patrols this city in northern Maharashtra when he is not training to win the Mr. Olympia title.

"Over the years, I have caught thieves, murderers, drug dealers and what not. Being a policeman and a bodybuilder has its own perks. Once I caught a motorcycle thief with 36 bikes and since then I am called 'Singham'. But if you look at the bigger picture - this is just a job for me," Vanjari told The Bridge.

A hero to the people now, Vanjari hails from a modest background.

"I was just 12 when I started training with my uncle, a wrestler. I come from a very small town in Maharashtra, called Bodwad. Both my parents were farmers, and we were struggling to make ends meet. That is when I decided to join the police department," he said.

Before setting out for the police station, Vanjari puts in one hour of training - 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise which can include everything from running to boxing and 30 minutes of stretching his muscles for the day ahead. After returning home, there is a two-hour exercise session scheduled to focus on a specific muscle group.

Boxing is Ravi Vanjari's favourite cardio workout

This way of life - where three hours every day are dedicated to training and workout - is something Vanjari has come to embrace as his identity.

"A week before my first All India Police Games, I lost my mother. I couldn't even eat, let alone train. But that is when my uncle told me to go ahead and compete, whatever it took. In just four days of training, I went on to win the bronze. That is when I realised we are above our struggles. Problems will come and go, but we have to continue with our passion," he added.

Vanjari missed the 2019 World Bodybuilding Championships in South Korea despite being selected because he could not afford to pay the registration fee of Rs 1.4 lakhs from his police officer's salary. He wishes the entire sports community in India unites to back people like him who have the talent but miss out on opportunities for want of support.

"The entire sports fraternity of our country should unite to see that people with talent in neglected sports get the backing when they need it. So many of us come from poor backgrounds and have to give up sports for want of money," he said.

However, Vanjari has found many allies in his bodybuilding career - even within the police department. His wife, a dietician, and his two children have always been at his side. Not just that, there have been some senior officers from Maharashtra Police who have relaxed some norms for him because of his identity as a bodybuilder.

"Some of my police officers even let me off duty when I have to train for a competition. I won't say it's easy, but what's better than serving your country and inspiring others while you are at it," said Vanjari.

We proudly present this story to you in association with Myntra's #UnitedInSports campaign on the occasion of National Sports Day.

Share with us how various sporting activities unites to find a balance in your life? Send us your story with a photo on Instagram with #UnitedInSports, and tag @thebridge_in and @myntra

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