11-And 13-Year- Old Noa Sara Eappen & Kasha Nia Sachdev Are The Powerlifting Champions To Watch Advertisement
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11-And 13-Year- Old Noa Sara Eappen & Kasha Nia Sachdev Are The Powerlifting Champions To Watch

By Ainee Nizami Ahmedi  May 1st, 2021

Eleven-year-old Noa Sara Eappen and 13-year-old Kasha Nia Sachdev recently took over the sporting world with their spectacular gold medal win at the World Powerlifting Congress India National Championships, held in Bangalore. Students of B.D Somani International School in Mumbai, the two young champs spoke to ELLE about what drives them, their future plans, and how they got interested in the sport of powerlifting.

Kasha started training about five years ago following a corrective surgery to treat her knock-knees. Her father, Nicholai Sachdev, a powerlifter himself, trains Kasha. When asked how the sport has changed her life, Kasha says, “It elates me, makes me feel different, special and unique. Powerlifting has made me taller, braver and stronger in every possible way. It makes me proud of myself. It has changed me. From shy, to confident, from happy, to the happiest I could ever be!”

ELLE: Congratulations on your win. Tell us about the experience?

Kasha Nia Sachdev (KNS): Thank you! It was exhilarating. I had envisioned that day and had mentally visualised the win. Six years of training, the sacrifices, the sweat and hard work. I had no self-doubt; I was calm. I was ready.

ELLE: How did you get interested in powerlifting?

KNS: My father, Nicholai Sachdev, apart from being a gallerist, is a competitive powerlifter. Seeing him train and shift weight, I was inspired and hooked.

ELLE: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to face; how did you overcome them?

KNS: At age eight, I went through two operations for knock-knees over the course of a year; they were so severe that I would trip over my own feet and was very unstable. Post-op, my father took me to the gym to work on my rehabilitation and strengthening. I wanted to get strong physically, and that drove me. Other than that, like any 13-year-old, I’ve broken arms and twisted ankles but always found a way to train around them. The body will achieve what the mind wills it to.

ELLE: Take us through a day in your daily life. How’s the training process like?

KNS: My day starts around 7 am, online schooling, with nutritious meals at two-hour intervals, lots of hydration and stretching between classes. Post-school, I wrap up homework and then we train for 2-3 hours, four times a week. I read a lot post-training, play with my dog, then an early supper and off to bed to recover.

My training is programmed and is focused on the three main powerlifting movements, the squat, bench and deadlift, with lots of accessory work and variations to build a strong foundation. The technique is constantly reinforced, and it is intense. Cardio and MMA is three times a week, which helps recovery through movement and helps me be explosive and breathe better in my powerlifting training. It seems like a lot of work, but when it’s passion-driven, the process is as much fun as the gold at the end!

ELLE: What are your future plans?

KNS: I will win gold for my country in Russia, the end of the year at the WPC World Championship. I have already started training.

Noa Sara Eappen starting her training last year; she was drawn to the idea of getting fit when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Within 12 months, Noa developed the required skill set. Talking about the experience, she shares, “I know that if I put in as much effort as I am doing already, I can take on anything that comes in my path. Powerlifting makes me happy because it’s shown me how much I have grown over time and how much stronger I have become, mentally and physically. When I lift, it makes me feel calm”.

ELLE: Congratulations on your win. Tell us about the experience?

Noa Sara Eappen: Thank you very much! The experience was truly amazing. It felt surreal to win gold in all three events that I participated in. I trained hard with all my heart and put in a lot of dedication, so I was thrilled that it all paid off.

ELLE: How did you get interested in powerlifting?

NSE: My mother, Arshiya Fakih, would take me to the gym to inspire me to get fit, and that is when I saw my friend Kasha training with her father, Nicholai. I was inspired watching them and started functional training with Nicholai. Around the start of Covid in March 2020, we incorporated strength training. Soon I grew stronger and started to see results. I was able to lift a lot more weight, and I was hooked.

ELLE: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to face; how did you overcome them?

NSE: At age 10, I was short for my age, at 4’4”, and I wasn’t very strong. Powerlifting changed that for me. It is a sport that is not just about the body; it’s also about strengthening the mind. I had to believe that I could do it, convince my mind and know my body would follow. In the last year, I’ve grown 6” taller, my body composition has changed, and I am mentally and physically a lot more confident.

ELLE: Take us through a day in your daily life. How’s the training process like?

NSE: I feel that I am more productive and have lots of energy. I wake up at 7:30 am with a healthy breakfast and get in an extra class prior to online school, either a language or a creative class. School is a lot of fun, with high protein meals at regular intervals that fuel me through my day. Post-school, training is about 2-3 hours, four days a week, with cardio and MMA on the other days.

In Powerlifting training, we work on the bench, deadlift and squat. We ensure that technology is reinforced and my form is on point so that when we increase weights, my form does not break down. We also do lots of other exercises to build stronger muscles to help me with the three main lifts. The training requires intense focus and hard work.

ELLE: What are your future plans?

NSE: I have my eyes on breaking the world record for Deadlifts at the WPC World Powerlifting Championships in Russia at the end of this year and winning gold for India.