“When we empower women, society benefits, grows, and thrives.” – Paul Polman
For a long time in the Indian society, Girls were only taught to cook, to take care of the family, and then married off. They were abandoned from being an equal part of the nation and were restricted to follow the same pattern for centuries. Generations changed, and the new blood refused to be a part of the patriarchal society by demanding equal rights. These proud Indian daughters like Europa Bhowmik, are proving their worth all along by standing shoulders to shoulders and competing in every field. They are the revolutionaries who are marking the beginning of a better tomorrow.
Among such revolutionary Indian daughters proudly stand Europa Bhowmik, Youngest Female Bodybuilder. She added another feather in her cap by conquering the silver medal in the Lightweight category at the Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship. This is a story of how a short lean teenage girl suffering from anorexia decided to bulldoze all the obstacles that life brings upon her in the hope to become ‘The Invincible’.
Born Amid the Stormy Ocean
Europa was born to a Captain of the merchant navy hailing from Bengal. Her mother accompanied her father on one of his voyage on a ship named Samco Europa while she was pregnant. The ship crew has decided to name the child Sam if a boy was born and Europa if it was a girl. Among those speculations, a beautiful girl came on the Earth and named Europa Bhowmik.
A Tragic Childhood
Europa had one of those sad childhoods where she had to deal with a lot of bullies. She was short in height and chubby; this gave the bullies a motive to tease the poor girl. She somehow got through her childhood phase, but as she became a teenager, she could not take it anymore. She started to cut off her diets, and this was when she came to know that she has anorexia, an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and what they eat. She almost got drowned in hopelessness and despair wishing that the misery might somehow end. And to make things worse, all this anguish was accompanied by puberty.
“The secret is not to give up hope. It’s very hard not to because if you’re really doing something worthwhile I think you will be pushed to the brink of hopelessness before you come through the other side.” – George Lucas
Building her own destiny
From this painful phase of life, it was Europa’s mother who took her daughter out of the torment and gave all the mental support required to fight back. Europa somehow gained all the strength she could and joined a Gym, following the advice of her mom. She started taking a balanced diet, and her gym trainers helped in grooming her body. All the efforts made her feel normal and motivating her to spend more on time strength machines. It seemed that the harder she trains every day in the gym, the more trust she gains in herself. Being her parents, it was a sight for sore eyes seeing their daughter turning back to normal.
Europa could have easily stopped here but NO she didn’t.
She had something else in mind, something big and something next to impossible. She wanted to prove to the world what she is capable of, and her previous baggage started serving as fuel to reach the unimaginable. She discussed her mission with her parents, and they were willing to support their daughter through all thick and thin although they were a little doubtful about it.
With her parents’ blessings, Europa started training for the national level bodybuilding competitions. Though the path she followed was not a bed of roses, and she was aware of it from the moment she decided.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
After months of rigorous training, Europa was ready to face her fate. Her first national-level competition held in Belgaum, Karnataka. She performed quite well but could not succeed to finish in the top 3. It was a minor setback, but failure is just a part of success in the future. Fortunately, she bumped into Indranil Maity who agreed to coach her and prepare her, so that next time it won’t be a disappointment.
Europa pushed herself to the limits to achieve what slipped out of her hands the previous time. Relying on fate could have been dangerous. She took the road less traveled believing that preparation is what allows success to happen naturally. Finally, it was the time for the 51st annual Lightweight Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship in South Korea when Europa dominated the Lightweight bodybuilding category and won the silver medal. And, she became the youngest woman to achieve such an accomplishment ever.
What inspires her?
Europa says that her inspiration comes from the fact that not many women were into bodybuilding when she first started, but they are now.
She says, “My parents were not very sure about this. Since they have never stopped me from doing anything, I could continue. However, it took me one win to convince them, and not they are now super-supportive. These days, girls are also coming to me to get into a fitness regimen. This, I would think, is my biggest achievement says Europa.”
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