express news service
Anantapur: Life has been a journey of patience and perseverance for VM Kishore Kumar, who was once ridiculed for being a disabled person. In part, ‘disabled’ may have been a misnomer in his case, as most capable men he has gotten – including a trainer who once turned him away – have failed to do so. Polio-affected Kumar, now a successful body-building coach and former ‘Mr Rayalaseema’, is eyeing the next goal: to represent India at the Paris Paralympics, 2024.
Born in Hamali Colony of Anantapur city to a lorry driver father, Kumar had a difficult childhood, he needed help to walk till he completed his sixth grade. He later used crutches to walk – initially sticks – and now has a master’s degree. When Kumar was in class X, body-building caught his attention. He achieved a toned, muscular body like many of his local gym-going heroes.
Kumar started working out at home and later moved to the grounds of the nearby Arts College, which had a bar for pull-ups. “I asked the trainer if any money should be given to practice in the field,” he recalled. The instructor looked around, and asked who wanted to be trained. “When I told him that I wanted to train, he made fun of me,” Kumar said. The instructor’s words hurt Kumar, but they failed to dampen his enthusiasm.
“I went to the Police Training College (PTC) the next day, where several tracksuit-clad youth were jogging. I thought the tracksuit was mandatory, and so didn’t venture inside. I left the place quietly,” he said. The desire to become a body-builder was so intense and Kumar used to visit PTC daily, standing outside watching others practice. Unbeknownst to him, he was also being watched.
One day, a senior officer, Prasad Rao spoke to Kumar and allowed him to practice in the field. The young man started practicing. After watching the 2001 Body-Building Championships for the Disabled, she started working towards competing. “In 2002, I stood first at the district level and became Mr. Rayalaseema in 2003.” he said. In the eyes of Rural Development Trust (RDT) director Moncho Ferrer, Kumar also came first in the three wheeler competition. When RDT started a gym in their sports village, Kumar appeared for an interview for the position of a coach and was selected.
a good samaritan
One day, a senior officer, Prasad Rao spoke to Kumar and allowed him to practice in the field. The young man started practicing. After watching the 2001 Body-Building Championships for the Disabled, she started working towards competing. “In 2003, I became Mr. Rayalaseema” said Kumar.