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Priyanka Singh: From Feeling Insecure About Her Body To Competing In Bodybuilding Championship In Noumea, New Caledonia

The former Lelean Memorial High School student will be competing in the bikini category, having qualified after winning gold in her first show, the 2018 Mr Fiji.
12 Oct 2019 12:08
Priyanka Singh: From Feeling Insecure About Her Body To Competing In Bodybuilding Championship In Noumea, New Caledonia
Priyanka Singh. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

For someone who found going to the gym ‘laborious,’ bodybuilder Priyanka Singh has come a long way.

The 22-year-old grew up feeling insecure about her body but did not have the drive to do anything about it.

Singh often found herself looking at fitness models on Instagram, with their seemingly perfect bodies and gilt-edged lives, and wishing she could be like them.

The photos made her feel even more self-conscious and depressed, she says.

“It made me cry, actually. I really felt bad about myself,” she admits.

Two years on, Singh is preparing for her first international bodybuilding show – the South Pacific Bodybuilding Championship in Noumea, New Caledonia on October 25.

The former Lelean Memorial High School student will be competing in the bikini category, having qualified after winning gold in her first show, the 2018 Mr Fiji.

It’s quite a turnaround for the Nausori lass, who only started working out to lose weight and had no plans to compete.

How does one go from being mired in self-doubt and insecurities about their body to competing for Fiji at an international bodybuilding competition?

“At first, I found going to the gym laborious and tiring. I was never into fitness or bodybuilding and started to wonder whether this was for me,” she said

“But after a while I couldn’t stop coming to the gym. Following a strict training and diet plan became really exciting and I haven’t stopped since.”

Despite high expectations for New Caledonia, Singh is aiming to look the best she ever has for a show, not to win a medal.

She expects competition to be intense at the regional meet, unlike the shows in Fiji.

In her first show, Singh competed against two other females, saying that the competition was far from ideal.

Bodybuilding is a sport that’s dominated by men in Fiji, with only four to five female athletes. Only three females have been named in the 11-member Team Fiji squad to New Caledonia.

There were none in last year’s competition despite Fiji being the hosts, with the late Jekesoni Yanuyanudrua being crowned Mr South Pacific.

Singh believes women shy away from bodybuilding because of the perception that “lifting weights makes you look manly.”

She hopes her story can inspire others to join the sport.

She said: “Girls are scared to lift weights because they think it will make them look manly, but if you’re doing the right training with the right meal plans, that won’t happen.

“Bodybuilding has also been very empowering for me on so many levels. I feel physically and mentally stronger and more confident in my abilities so I encourage more women to take it up.”

Singh represented Fiji at the World Supermodel Pageant in April at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour.

Singh says bodybuilding gave her the confidence to compete against 40 other supermodels from around the world.

But it has been far from a smooth ride.

Singh came in for heavy criticism from fellow athletes following her first win in 2018.

“There was a lot of negativity and obstacles from former athletes and some others, who don’t want me to compete for Fiji,” she said.

“They are questioning how I qualified? Why should I go? And how I won in 2018? But I don’t bother myself with that. I’m just focussed on my training and making myself better for the upcoming competition.

“I also want to thank my partner Ronald Rishay, my mother Shashtra Singh, Jordan Pillay and Jamie Mitchell for their continuous support in helping me deal with these setbacks.”

Priyanka Singh (right) with Jordan Pillay. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Priyanka Singh (right) with Jordan Pillay. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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