Source:

SUNDAY TIMES OF INDIA, MUMBAI/THANE

JANUARY 8, 2017

An inspiring real-life story, on the lines of the sports movie ‘Dangal’, has emerged from the Mangaon taluka of Raigad district. An impoverished sandwich seller not just inspired her 17-year-old daughter to be a state-level power-lifter,she herself came out of a 26-year-old hiatus to become a champion power-lifter and is now aiming for a shot at national events.

Sangita aka Jyotika Patekar(48) was in the very first batch of Mumbai girls that participated in the power lifting sport back in 1984. She gave it up in 1990 post marriage and move to Goregaon in Mangaon taluka. Till date, she helps her husband sell sandwiches for a living. “After marriage, I would often remember my school days in Mumbai when I excelled in power lifting.

Madhukar Darekar, my sports teacher from Chembur High School, had encouraged me to take up the sport in 1984-85. So recently, when my daughter Vaibhavi showed an inclination to powerlifting, I did what my sports teacher had done for me,” said Jyotika.

Three months ago, Jyotika began to train her daughter at night in a local gym in the basics of powerlifting—squat,bench press and deadlift. During the day, she would work as usual at their roadside stall in Lonere area, close to Goregaon. Her daughter would help out after attending lectures at N MJoshi Vidyabhavan. Vaibhavi,who is currently in Class XII(Arts), stood first in the district level competition in November last year by lifting 180kg—70kg squat, 25kg bench press and 85kg deadlift. She later did well in Mumbai division and qualified for the state-level competition held at Jalgaon in December.She stood fourth.

What multiplied her joy her mother’s participation in the open category at Jalgaon and her gold medal. “It ook up powerlifting after listening to stories of my mother’s achievements.I am therefore doubly happy that while I reached the state level, she won the gold medal in her weight category.Her dream of returning to the sport has come true.”

Locals have begun to refer to the mother-daughter duo as the ‘Dangal Team’. Vaibhavi’s college is proud of her achievement.Her sports teachers, G B Mane and A K Hase, said their college chairman, Dilipbhai Seth, has always encouraged students in athletics, kabaddi, khokho and volleyball. Jyotika added that Zarina Screwala, wife of entrepreneur Ronnie Screwala,who runs Swadesh Foundation,helped the duo last year.

Uran Alive, a social service group,is also trying to assist them.

Jyotika’s husband, Jayant Patekar, was earlier dismissive of his daughter’s drive to train for the sport due to their weak financial situation. Today, he is filled with pride.

“My ultimate dream is to setup a proper training school herein Mangaon to make future champions in powerlifting. But for that, we will need government’s support and funds,” said Jyotika. For her, it may not be impossible to achieve.



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