KOCHI: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This quote from Paulo Coelho’s book ‘The Alchemist’ kept Indian professional athlete Peter Joseph Gnalian going despite the many setbacks in life and work.And, achieve he did. Peter, a few days back, won the Masters World Cup Weightlifting Championship in above-55 age category, held in San Diego. “The championship was organised at the auditorium of Town and Country Hotel. It was a well-organised one and I expected tough competition from contestants from Russia, Bulgaria and Turkey. But, it all went well and I won by lifting 170 kg,” says 58-year-old Peter.
Peter, who was the national champion in weight lifting at 22, switched to bodybuilding at the age of 40. “We get many injuries during weight lifting. That was why I decided to switch,” says Peter, an employee of Indian Railways.He was the second runner-up in two world championships before retiring from bodybuilding in 2017. “I started disliking bodybuilding championships. In any sport, the results should be declared immediately after the event gets over. But here, the results are declared late and the judgement was biased. I lost many titles due to lack of transparency,” he says.
But, his penchant to win a medal for the country bought Peter back to weightlifting last year. “To lift India’s flag at the podium is a dream for any sportsperson. I never had a world title in my career and that’s when I decided to come back,” says Peter. “I was sure I could beat anyone,” he adds.
Peter contested in 2018 Asia Pacific Masters Games held in Malaysia and was the runner-up. However, he had to pull out from Commonwealth Games in Australia due to ligament injury. “I was disappointed. So, I underwent physiotherapy and prepared for the Masters World Cup.”
He says many of the competitions in the World Cup featured women of over 50. “CrossFit is trending in countries like the USA and women are well aware of that. It is the best way to burn calories at a minimum time. Walking can benefit your ankles, but CrossFit can fully refresh your body.”
Peter also promotes a healthy lifestyle through his YouTube channel ‘Peter Joseph World Champion’. “I was sure that I will win a world title at least once, so I named my channel so. People go on to blame lifestyle for health issues. However, they don’t do much to change it. One can exercise anywhere; home, office or gymnasium. What you need are determination and idea,” says Peter. He plans to contest in upcoming weightlifting championships too.