A pedagogue of bodybuilders

Ajay Joshi

Tribune Information Carrier

Hoshiarpur, September 25

Name it mere twist of fate or future, Padma Shri awardee Prem Chand Degra (64), was once born to grow to be a bodybuilder.

Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Degra is thought of as as a pedagogue, who has touched lives of many athletes and bodybuilders.

Even at this age, he by no means forgets to hit the gymnasium and raise weights. Owing to his achievements, he was once awarded Padma Shri in 1990, Arjun Award in 1988 and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award in 1994.

Degra stated after the Partition, his circle of relatives settled in Gurdaspur, with out his father. He stated to get out of concern, he began wrestling. His muscular constructed, made him fashionable as a ‘desi’ wrestler. He used to do 2,000 push ups and squats and run for round 15 km day-to-day. Although, he gained quite a lot of medals at a tender age, he sought after to get a task for himself, so that you can get his circle of relatives out of the clutches of poverty. Due to this fact, he joined the Punjab Police in 1975.

In 1980, his schoolteacher noticed him at a wrestling floor (akahda), and requested him to do skilled bodybuilding. Degra held his mentor’s hand and took part within the north India-level frame construction auditions. Unusually, with none preparation, he ranked first.

He stated it was once August 14,1980 when the malicious program of bodybuilding bit him. He labored laborious to mildew his frame into a greater muscular pride.

Ghee (clarified butter), milk, workout, culmination and each and every meals merchandise to be had changed into part of his day-to-day regimen. His efforts fetched him the name of the ‘State Champion’.

Kicking off his world occupation, he first clinched Mr Asia 1983 (Lahore, Pakistan), Mr Asia 1984 (Seoul, South Korea), Mr Asia 1985 (Singapore), Mr Asia 1986 (Taipei, Taiwan), Mr Asia 1987 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), gold in Professional-Am Vintage 1990 and 1991 (Singapore) and Mr Asia 1996 (New Delhi, India). Along with those titles, he additionally gained the ‘Mr India’ name 9 occasions in a row.

Degra caught to middle-weight magnificence in the entire appearances. He first competed for the International name in 1984 in Las Vegas, the place he completed 14th. He moved as much as 4th place in 1985 in Sweden and was once named the ‘Maximum Advanced Bodybuilder’ of the yr. He gained a silver medal in Tokyo in 1986 and was once once more positioned 4th in Madrid in 1987.

The prime level got here in 1988 when in Queensland in Australia, he gained a gold in middle-weight magnificence and was once topped ‘Mr Universe ‘in 1988. At this level, Degra was once understanding for 8 hours and used to consume 8 vegetarian foods all over the day.

To apply his interest, he left his process in 1984 as an Assistant Sub-Inspector.

Degra stated, “Mr Universe name in 1988 was once a existence converting second. American citizens used to comprehend and criticise on the similar time and used to mention, how a person from a deficient nation like India gained the celebrated name, with dope-negative studies. I used to be even known as to The us to coach athletes, however I selected to stick in my nation and constitute India.”

These days serving as government vice-president of the India Frame Development Federation (IBBF), Degra trains budding bodybuilders and suggest them about steroid abuse. He runs ‘International 88 Health club’ close to his place of dwelling on Sutehri Highway in Hoshiarpur.