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Meet the champion

Police constable Prashant Gauns recently won the title ‘Champion of Champions’ at the 1st Goa Police Shree, body building competition. He chats with NT BUZZ about his love for the sport, the challenges, and how he balances his work and his passion

Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ

Prashant Gauns who hails from Sarvan, Bicholim has been a police constable at the Central Jail, Colvale for the last eight years. Alongside this, his passion for body building continues to thrive and he was given a chance to demonstrate this love recently when he participated and won the title of ‘Champion of Champions’ and the 1st place in the 65 kilograms weight category at the 1st Goa Police Shree, body building competition.

Spearheaded by SP, Sports, Karthik Kashyap, this was the first time that a body building competition was organised which saw 25 police personnel flex their muscles. For Prashant, this was the right platform to prove himself. “Body building has been a craze since my school days at Govind Gunaji Sawant High School. Back then I would admire Salman Khan for his well sculpted look. Later I got into volleyball and kho-kho while studying at DNDSH Higher Secondary,” recalls Prasant, who later went on to win the 1st place in the 65 kilogram weight category at the Goa University Body Building Championship and also represented Goa University at the All India University Body Building competition.

However with the need to be financially secure and at the behest of his brother Dattaprasad, also a police constable with Indian Reserve Batallion, Prashant joined the police force. Attached to the Escort Cell, Panaji his job entails escorting people who are sentenced or under trial, to the court, and for medical examination. “ My brother has been supportive of my decisions and has allowed me to follow my dream,” he says.

And while he takes his job seriously, Prashant, 30, has now decided to also pursue body building seriously. “The Goa Police Body Building competition has given me the required boost to take it to the next level. Now I will work on myself over the next couple of years as I am aiming for the title of Mr Goa in 2020,” he says.

But why such a long break? Prashant states that bulking up a body for competitions isn’t a short term process. It is gradual, and includes a stringent diet, intake of supplements and fat burners, and most importantly is an expensive affair. “Many youngsters think body building is easy and that results can be achieved quickly. However, those who are interested in it have to be very strong, physically and mentally,” explains Prashant.

As part of his regime, Prashant has to eat every two hours and he works out daily. Besides five litres of water, eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is vital. There’s a lot to compromise on he says, including carbs and sweets that he loves. As the competition date approaches, it gets tougher as water intake is stopped.

Balancing his work duties and his body building passion however was tricky at first as it was difficult to convince his superiors to grant him leave. “People have this notion that one only requires to be ‘bulky’ for body building, and thus would ask several questions when I wanted leave to prepare for two competitions early this year,” says Prashant who admits that the scenario has changed now, thanks to Karthik Kashyap.

And while people are now aware of the sporting talent in the Goa police force, he acknowledges that more needs to be done to encourage police personnel to participate in sports.

“Outside Goa, police personnel who are into sports are relieved from duty and are encouraged to excel in sports and officers are very supportive. Unfortunately this provision isn’t there in Goa. We struggle to get leave and have to use our leave or our salary gets deducted. There should be a collective will to boost sporting talent, and such interests should not be thwarted,” he says. “I don’t mind not getting a promotion, but I want the department to be considerate towards sports persons like me and grant us on-duty leave.”

He further adds that he is lucky to have found a mentor in Vidhyesh Kavlekar who works as a sergeant at the secretariat and is also one of his idols alongside Jay Cutler. “There are many people who can fool you in this field and rarely do people give the correct guidance,” says Prashant who has gained over 10 kilos now, has restricted movement.

Prashant also laments that for a body builder the expenses are close to Rs 35,000 when it comes to participating in competitions and the sad part is that the prize money isn’t very motivating. Besides this, there is tremendous cheating that goes on in competitions in Goa, with gyms fixing the competition with organisers to get the title, and forfeit the prize money. But the enthusiastic Prashant says that it is not that easy to fool judges.

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