Meet Uncle ‘Hulk’ -- 72-year-old KC Sreenivasan from Kerala

TNIE catches up with 72-year-old Malayali powerlifting champion K C Sreenivasan, who recently broke the national record

Published: 28th January 2023 06:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2023 06:38 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Some of his powerlifting visuals remind one of yesteryear’s WWF champion Hulk Hogan. Especially the grit on his face. But on personally meeting 72-year-old KC Sreenivasan, he comes across as a not-so-hefty, grounded sweetheart ‘uncle’.  

Donning a white Team India jersey, the national masters’ powerlifting champion humbly opens a bag and takes out medals, trophies, and certificates he recently won. My jaw drops in awe.  
Sreenivasan, who is based at Kaloor in Kochi, points to his latest achievement – a gold medal at the Masters’ Equipped and Classic Bench Press Championship held in Aurangabad a week ago. He humbly informs me that he set a new national record of lifting 78.5kg in the under-60kg bodyweight category. 

‘Only one from Kerala’
“I was the only one to represent Kerala in the Master 4 category (above the age of 70); the runners-up were from Bengal and Maharashtra,” adds Sreenivasan, who retired as a desk attendant at a media organisation. “I also won the ‘Strongman’ title, as the weight I lifted was more than what the 83kg category lifters managed to pull off.” 

Sreenivasan has been a regular at several national powerlifting events over the past decade. And, he has travelled to Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir to participate in competitions. 

“In 2017, I achieved international glory, too, by winning gold at the Asian Powerlifting Championship held in Alappuzha,” he says. “I lifted 85kg in squat as well as bench press, and 115kg in the deadlift event.”

Sreenivasan adds that specialised gear plays an important role in powerlifting. “Squat suit, bench shirt, deadlift suit, etc., help in lifting more weight,” he explains. “The tight suits help our muscles lift an additional 15-20 kilos. It’s been only two years since I started wearing them. Since they cost over Rs 16,000, I use a friend’s gear, which is loose for me. Yet, I managed to lift more weight than the others.” Sreenivasan entered the strength sports field with bodybuilding in 1969. From 1972 to 1984, he participated in several bodybuilding competitions. “Bodybuilding is an art,” he says. 

“But, I stopped participating in events as I belonged to the ‘Shortman’ category. As per the rules, I could win major titles like ‘King’ only if my body weight was 75kg and above; I was 55kg at that time. I managed to secure first place in district-level competitions, but did not go beyond the state level.” 
Though he kept off competitive events, Sreenivasan maintained his workout regimen religiously.

On retiring from work at the age of 60, he re-entered the sports arena. “Mending my body to the ‘bodybuilder format’ was tough at that age, so I shifted my focus to powerlifting in 2011,” he says.
 Though many advised him not to take up extensive weight training programmes, Sreenivasan was confident that his “mind and body could handle the workout”. 

So far, he has won 48 medals at various levels. “I am probably the only Indian to have secured these many medals after the age of 60,” he beams. 

‘Puttu, pazham, kadala…’
Sreenivasan says he now participates in bodybuilding competitions in the masters’ category. And he is currently gearing up for an upcoming national bodybuilding event in Varanasi. “The muscle training for bodybuilding and powerlifting are different. Doing both is not easy, especially at this age,” he says. “I do sit-ups, squats, push-ups regularly. There are specific workouts for abs, side and back muscles, triceps, biceps, and the forearm as well. As far as I know, I am the only person in Asia to compete in bodybuilding and powerlifting at this age.”

Sreenivasan says he does not take any special diet or protein powder. “I can’t afford such advanced diets, so I stick to a normal diet that I have always followed,” he says. “This includes things like boiled plantain, puttu, kadala, rice, curry, etc.”

Sreenivasan rues that he does not receive much recognition or financial support from the system. “However, people like me keep going for competitions just out of sheer passion,” he adds. “We often have to take care of even the accommodation by ourselves, or adjust at the venue itself.”

His next big dream is winning gold at an international meet taking place in South Africa later this year. “Lack of financial support is a worry,” he says. “I am not sure whether I will be able to go. I wish such efforts of senior citizens get due recognition in Kerala.” 


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  • Dr.Cajetan Coelho

    Uncle ‘Hulk’ is doing fine.
    1 month ago reply
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