Road running

Real-life Singham: Bodybuilder cop a local hero in Jalgaon

Maharashtra’s Jalgaon, colloquially known as the “Banana City of India” because the region’s farmers grow two-thirds of the state’s total bananas, has a new identity these days. It is home to the ‘Singham’ cop whose name makes real-life criminals flee with tails between legs – Ravi Vanjari.

A gold medal winner at the 2018 Asian Bodybuilding Championships, this ‘super cop’ patrols this city in northern Maharashtra when he is not training to win the Mr. Olympia title these days.

“Over the years, I have caught thieves, murderers, drug dealers and what not. Being a policeman and a bodybuilder has its own perks. Once I caught a motorcycle thief with 36 bikes and since then I am called ‘Singham’. But if you look at the bigger picture – this is just a job for me,” Vanjari told The Bridge.

A hero to the people now, Vanjari hails from a modest background.

“I was just 12 when I started training with my ‘Kaka’ who was a wrestler. I come from a very small town in Maharashtra, called Bodwad. Both my parents were farmers, and we were struggling to make ends meet. That is when I decided to join the police department,” he said.

“A week before my first All India Police Games, I lost my mother. I couldn’t even eat, let alone train. But that is when ‘kaka’ told me to go ahead and compete, whatever it took. In just four days of training, I went on to win the bronze. That is when I realized we are above our struggles, problems will come and go, but we have to continue with our passion,” he added.

Vanjari has found many allies in his bodybuilding career – even within the police department. His wife, a dietician, and his two children have of course always been at his side. But there have been some senior officers from Maharashtra Police who have always kept in mind that their star policeman is also a star bodybuilder in the sports arena.

“Some of my police officers even let me off duty when I have to train for a competition. I won’t say it’s easy, but what’s better than serving your country and inspiring others while you are at it,” said Vanjari.

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