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Making rapid strides

BODY-BUILDING, LIKE boxing and weight-lifting, is a popular sport in Chennai. With so many gymnasia around, the sport attracts a goodly number of youngsters. Twenty-four-year-old M.P. Manoj Kumar is one of them. His ambition is to become Mr. Asia one day.

Hooked to the sport at a young age, he has set a goal for himself. He is confident of accomplishing it. But his handicap is the lack of a job. He feels, a secure job will help him meet the ever-rising expenses. He is already in focus as the gold medal winner of the South India championship, held in Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) in 2001.

The well-built Manoj was first spotted by coach Arasu of Golden Gymnasium at Alandur. Manoj has no interest in any game other than body-building.

Five years ago, he was just a gym boy like others trying to improve their physical fitness. But in the last two years, Manoj has made rapid strides, winning medal after medal in 85, 90 and 90 plus categories. He got silver in the State Open in 2001, but in the same year, he collected gold in the State senior and South India championships. In 2002, again, he clinched gold both in State Open and senior championships.

Manoj is now concentrating on the National title. Thiruvengadam, president of the State Bodybuilding Association, said "He is a dedicated boy and has a bright future."

Manoj says it is pretty tough against stalwarts in the Railways and Services. But his aim is to challenge them and beat them for the National title.

Given his enthusiasm, effort and energy that Manoj spends to conquer new frontiers of excellence, there is no reason why he cannot reach the goal.

M. C. RAMAN

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