Arshia Goswami: Bharat’s Youngest Weightlifter Defying Gravity of Expectation
Anurag Sharma, Senior Research Associate, VIF

बलेन लापेकस्तिठति बलमुपास्वेति | - Chhandogya Upanishad (7.8.1)

{English Translation: “The world's existence is dependent on Strength. Be devoted to Strength”}

Bharat is a nation where a girl child is considered a manifestation of Aadi Shakti (the sacred energy of a Goddess that existed before the universe’s beginning) and worshipped with sacred sentiments twice a year during Navratri festivals. The success stories crafted by Bharatiya girls represent the very existence of Shakti and their contribution towards the growth of this nation. Amongst other stories, this is the story of Arshia Goswami— a nine-year-old girl from Panchkula in Haryana, who not only sets an example of girl empowerment but also became an inspiration for other young kids to get involved in sports and weightlifting.

Arshia is a regular school-going girl who weighs around 25 kilograms. However, with sheer practice, guided lifestyle and determination, she could lift around 75 kilograms, at least thrice of her body weight during deadlift [1] exercise. In 2023, she maintained an Asia record of doing a deadlift of her Personal Best (PB) with 60 kilograms. Being the youngest weightlifter in her category, she has already bagged brand campaigning contracts/sponsorships from MuscleBlaze and Jerai Fitness, two of Bharat’s well-known fitness brands. Her father, Avnish Goswami, a certified fitness trainer, said, “I do not know how she does it. Is it genetic, or maybe she’s got some rare gift?” [2]

Arshia’s father— Avnish, came to know about a Canada-based child weightlifter. Despite negative narratives from family members and relatives concerning health issues and myths about weightlifting and child growth, Avnish introduced Arshia to the world of weightlifting. From this point, Arshia did not look back. Arshia started her journey to fame on 28 December 2021 when, at age 6, she lifted 45 kilograms weights and earned the title of “Youngest Deadlifter” in the India Book of Records. Arshia achieved a new record on the “India’s Got Talent” show in 2023 by executing 17 clean-and-jerk[3] movements in 30 seconds while lifting a 6kg exercise ball. With this, she broke her record of 16 clean-and-jerk motions in 30 seconds. She lifted 62 kg in the deadlift, 32 kg in the clean-and-jerk, 26 kg in the Snatch movement, 47 kg in the Scott exercise, and 32 kg in the Bench Press during a weightlifting event held in August 2023. [4] Almost a year later, in February 2024, nine-year-old Arshia broke her best with a 75 kg deadlift. Her flawless skills and focus on movements are commendable.

Along with her passion for weightlifting, Arshia enjoys Taekwondo and developed her interest in fitness and weightlifting from her father’s regular workout. She mostly trained in her father’s gym, where he guided her. In her free time, Arshia loves painting and watching Netflix. She emphasised her passion and appreciation for weightlifting in one of her Instagram postings (@fit_arshia). As Bharat’s youngest weightlifter, she hopes to represent her country at the Olympics. The remarkable journey of Arshia, the youngest deadlifter, is a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and passion to achieve extraordinary feats. Her unwavering dedication towards fitness, coupled with unending support from family and coach/trainer, has propelled Arshia to the pinnacle of success at such a young age. With her achievements, Arshia reminds us that age is no barrier and that with hard work and perseverance, Anything is Possible.

Endnotes

[1] Note: The deadlift is a strengthening exercise where a loaded barbell is lifted off the ground from a stabilized, bent over position, knees free to bend.
[2] Saini, Abhishek. “Meet Arshia Goswami: The eight-year-old who lifts weights for fun”, Sportstar- The Hindu, 07 July 2023, available from: https://sportstar.thehindu.com/other-sports/arshia-goswami-weightlifting-kid-age-instagram-videos-records-profile-covid-19-pandemic-panchkula-olympics-dream/article67054157.ece
[3] Note: Clean-and-Jerk is a two-part lift that involves lifting a barbell from the ground to the shoulders (the clean), then locking out the barbell overhead (the jerk).
[4] “8-year-old weightlifter Arshiya Goswami creates world record”, ETV Bharat, 12 August 2023, available from: https://www.etvbharat.com/english/state/punjab/8-year-old-weightlifter-arshiya-goswami-creates-world-record/na20230812134947406406523

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