My Story: I Became The First Indian Woman Athlete To Win A Gold In Kettlebell World Championships

Image Credit: Shivani Aggarwalla

The Logical Indian Crew

My Story: 'I Became The First Indian Woman Athlete To Win A Gold In Kettlebell World Championships'

Shivani Agarwalla is an international kettlebell athlete, a practising-chartered accountant, a mother and a wife. Her journey with sports began as a mere way of losing weight but turned into a devoted passion.

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It all started with a quest to lose my post-partum weight. It was a bright summer morning in 2016; my husband suggested I join a gym. For someone who had never hit a gym before, it was a tall ask. As a loving wife, I thought, let's do this for him. At the gym, I came across this beautiful piece of equipment called a kettlebell. I was anyway bored out of my wits. For the sake of recreation, I joined kettlebell classes at the gym. But luck had it, the pressures of work, a super nuclear family with an ever-travelling husband and my ten-month-old son, I called it quits. I realized fitness was not my cup of tea!

My Mentor Offered To Train Me At Home

But a few weeks down the line, I got lucky when my mentor called and offered to train me at home. I grabbed the offer and started training with kettlebells at my home. Until then, I was doing it with the idea of losing weight. But he probably noticed a spark in me, something no one had discovered until then. He made me realize I was cut for bigger things, much bigger than I could imagine! He started living his dreams through me! Someone rightly said, you make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give! Mentors fall in the latter category.

We trained and trained. I promised myself, this time I shall not quit. From my first Asian Championship in 2017 to representing India in the World Championships in Uzbekistan in 2018, Australia in 2019 and France in 2022, it's been a journey of sorts. India saw in me its first woman athlete to get Gold in Kettlebell World Championship and its first woman athlete to get my hattrick Gold in France last year. And yes, I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a daughter, and a practising Chartered Accountant.

My Father Received A Letter From PM Modi

Even now, nine out of ten would not know what is Kettlebell sport. Kettlebell lifting is a repetitive weightlifting sport performed with kettlebells in a given period of time. Competitive kettlebell lifting has a long history in Russia and Eastern Europe, but developed as an organized, standard sport under the name 'Kettlebell' lifting during the 1960s and is now seeing a surge in interest and participation worldwide.

On 28th March 2022, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi sent a Letter of Appreciation to my father congratulating him and me on my achievements and recognizing my contribution to the nation. When you receive a letter from him, it just all feels so right! In my own way, I have tried to grow the sport in India, to help Indians love a sport other than cricket, but it seems I have a long way to go! Had it not been for my husband, Mayank who stood tall against all odds, this journey would not be possible. The one mantra that has helped me carve my journey: If you are persistent you will get it, if you are consistent you will keep it!

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Writer : Ratika Rana
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Editor : Ankita Singh
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Creatives : Ratika Rana