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The Kolkata Kettlebell Meet 2013

19th January, 2013 saw the start of a new chapter in the history of sporting contests in India, with the first ever kettlebell contest in the country being held. What seemed like a dream till about 30 days ago, became a reality last Saturday. Having seen kettlebell contests only on Youtube so far, it was nothing less than a dream for me, and also for the contestants, to be part of one in our city of joy, Kolkata. Sometime in December, the idea struck me to try and put together a kettlebell contest, so that the kettlebell lovers could come together and get a chance to show their skills on a platform infront of cheering supporters. The question, of course was, where and how to go about it?

As I wondered, the first name that came to my mind was that of Ranadeep Moitra. For those that may not know, he is one of India's top strength and conditioning coaches, and has worked with many professional athletes, and regular people alike. He also runs, what is probably the best fitness studio in the whole country, Endorphins. But most importantly, it is his leadership skills, and genuine passion in spreading greater fitness levels in the country, that makes him the top and most sought after coach that he is.  Thus I realized, that the best chance of putting this event together is to approach Ranadeep, and share my idea with him. And, to my pleasant surprise, the moment I approached him, it was all smooth sailing thereafter. Ranadeep da (da in Bengali refers to elder brother), shared the same passion as me to help promote strength training among the general population, and went out of his way to make sure that this event takes place, and the venue of course, would be his great and spacious studio.

After the planning was done, it was on 25th December that I made the announcement about the event. Within days, KKM was being talked about internationally, with kettlebell trainers like Thierry Sanchez, Muk Venkataraman, and others sharing the news on their sites and Facebook pages. It was during this time that I realized first hand, what a great community the kettlebell community is. Kettlebellers around the world are always happy to know of a new country starting kb contests, and are always happy to help spread the word, and offer all the encouragement and guidance that one needs.

As the news spread, people starting asking about the event and showed their interest in taking part. Finally on the day of the meet, a total of 10 participants showed up. Now 10 may not sound like a huge number, but do keep in mind that kettlebells are still not very widely practiced in Kolkata, and we announced the event with less than 30 days before the event date. Thus, not a lot of time was available to approach many people. Nonetheless, I was happy with 10 participants showing up (my fear was to get less than 5). And while more than 10 people had said before the contest that they would show up, I knew that there would always be some people who would not be able to make it due to some work, sickness, etc. So 10 was a good number in my opinion.

Since this was the first ever kb contest in India, and the fact that not many in India are used to the standard Girevoy 10 minute sets, we decided to keep the contest to 5 minute sets, and allow multiple hand changes. Our goal was to encourage even the newcomers to come forward and take part, and not just the seasoned pros, and thus the relaxation of certain rules. Also, in attendance was Dr. Balasubramanian Ramanna, who is India's first and so far only RKC (and also Strongfirst) certified instructor. The good doc helped with the judging, and also to motivate the participants with some last minute instructions. Overall, the mood before the start was great, and we were all ready to begin. And after I went through the rules, it finally began.

Here are the videos of the two categories:

Category A ( 1 arm Long Cycle/Short Cycle)

Flight 1: Jaya-12 kgs-59 reps, Ram-20 kgs- 49reps, Rajiv- 16 kgs- 113 reps   

Flight 2: Vasudha- 16 kgs- 31 reps, Pratibh- 16 kgs-107 reps, Raj- 16 kgs- 102 reps

Flight 3: Kavita-  8kgs- 86 reps, Raju- 16 kgs- 71 reps

Flight 4: Keshav- 20 kgs- 49 reps, Lali- 16 kgs- 150 reps

Category B (1 arm snatch) 

Flight 1: Jaya- 12kgs- 50 reps, Ram- 16 kgs- 80 reps, Rajiv- 16 kgs- 127 reps

Flight 2: Vasudha- 12 kgs- 73 reps, Pratibh- 16 kgs- 114 reps, Raj- 16 kgs- 102 reps

Flight 3: Kavita- 8 kgs- 125 reps, Raju- 16 kgs- 89 reps

Flight 4: Keshav- 16 kgs- 40 reps, Lali- 16 kgs- 123 reps

As the event came to a close, we knew that we had created history, and were happy that everything went smoothly, despite the fact that this was our first time ever organizing a kettelbell meet. The contestants showed some very good performances, and everyone gave it their best. And as a first time organizer, that is all that I could ask for.

Looking forward, I hope that next year we can make KKM even bigger, and keep promoting strength training as a way to get fitter and healthier. And to end I would like to thank everyone who helped make KKM a reality, and helped make this event possible. That would include Ranadeep Moitra, and the helpful team at Endorphins, Dr. Ramanna, the contestants, the 4th and 5th judges Rahul Mandapaka and Samrat Sen, the director of photography- Prajna Dutta, all those who helped spread the word about the event, and of course, you the blog readers, who have always encouraged me to work harder and to do my best. Thank you all.

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