ANANTAPUR: Life has been a journey of grit and perseverance for V M Kishore Kumar, once mocked at and turned away for being a disabled person. To a certain extent, ‘disabled’ could be a misnomer in his case, for he has achieved most able-bodied men--including a trainer who had once turned him away--have failed to do. Polio-affected Kumar, now a successful body-building coach and former ‘Mister Rayalaseema’ has his sight set on the next goal: represent India at Paris Paralympics, 2024.
Kumar, born to a lorry driver father at Hamali Colony in Anantapur town, had a tough childhood, needing help to move till he completed his Class VI. He later used crutches--initially sticks--to walk, and now holds a Master’s Degree. Body-building caught his attention when Kumar was in Class X. He earned to have a toned, muscular body like many of his local gym-going heros.
Kumar started working out at home and later started visiting the nearby Arts College ground, which had a bar for pull-ups. “I asked the trainer if any money should be paid to practise at the grounds,” he recalled. The trainer looked around, and asked who wanted to be trained. “He poked fun at me when I told him I wanted to be trained,” Kumar said. The trainer’s words did hurt Kumar, but they failed to dampen his spirits.
“I went to the Police Training College (PTC) the next day, where several tracksuit clad youngsters were jogging. I thought tracksuit was mandatory, and hence didn’t venture inside. I quietly left the place,” he added. The desire to be a body-builder was so intense and Kumar went to the PTC daily, and stood outside watching others practise. Unknown to him, he too was being watched.
One day, a senior officer, Prasad Rao, spoke to Kumar and gave him permission to practise in the ground. The young man started practising. After watching the 2001 body-building championship for disabled, he started working towards competing. “In 2002, I stood first at the district-level and went on to become Mister Rayalaseema in 2003.” he said. Kumar also came first in the tricycle competition, catching the eye of Rural Development Trust (RDT) director Moncho Ferrer. When the RDT started a gym at its sport village, Kumar attended the interview for the post of a coach and got selected.
A GOOD SAMARITAN
One day, a senior officer, Prasad Rao, spoke to Kumar and allowed him to practise in the ground. The young man started practising. After watching the 2001 body-building championship for disabled, he started working towards competing. “In 2003, I went on to become Mister Rayalaseema” Kumar said.