Para sports are on the rise and powerlifters have been one of the biggest reasons behind the increase in the popularity in India. While there have been several talented Para powerlifters in India since last decade, Manpreet Kaur is often referred to as one of the best of them all and the notion was revitalised when she became the national champion in 2016.
Despite being a national champion, Manpreet Kaur is not a household name among the Indian fans. The 35-year-old has defied all odds to become one of the best India has to offer and proved herself in the international stages. Let’s take a look at who she is and how she inspired an entire generation of Para athletes to take up their respective disciplines.
Born on January 17, 1987, in Dr. Ambedkar Nagar, Phagwara, Punjab, Manpreet was diagnosed with polio when she was only six months old after high fever. It resulted in the muscles in her leg losing its power gradually after heavy doses of injections.
Manpreet has three siblings, and two of them are masons while the third one is a carpenter. After completing her schooling from a Government high school in Chakprema (Kapurthala) in 2006, Manpreet pursued bachelor’s degrees in Commerce and Education from the Kamla Nehru College and passed out in 2012. She tried to get a private job and had an interview lined up at Ramgarhia College of Education, Phagwara. However, during the interview, the principal advised her to enrol at the Para Academy under Coach Parminder Singh.
She began training in Para powerlifting in 2013. She was described as a natural at the sport and clinched her first medal, a bronze, at the nationals that year itself. However, tragedy stuck soon, as Manpreet lost her father, who worked as a mason, in 2014.
Manpreet is currently being trained by Para powerlifter Rajinder Singh Rahelu, who feels adequate financial support will lead to wonders for his student. She competes in the light weight category (41kg) in Para powerlifting.
Manpreet finished at the fourth place in Asian Para Games in 2018, before winning a bronze and a silver medal at Asia Para Powerlifting Championship and British Open Para Powerlifting Championship respectively in the same year. She also won another bronze medal at World Para Powerlifting Asia Oceania Open Championships in 2022, ahead of the Commonwealth Games.