Ilam gyms attracting youths

Ilam, October 25:

Unlike in the past, Umesh Shiwa returns home at 7 am after finishing his three-hour body-building exercise in a gymnasium at the Ilam bazaar.

Local youths like Umesh are driven by the desire to maintain physical fitness and make their bodies attractive. Droves of youths can be seen at gymnasiums located in the bazaar, says Bikram Shrestha, owner of the Ilam Physical Fitness Centre. Owner of the Silikhan Gym Sunil Khadgi said Mister Nepal and other body building television programmes have aroused interest of the youths in body-building. Bikram Shrestha opened the gymnasium in 2001 after conducting training at Dharan Physical Fitness Centre, Fitness Point Biratnagar and the Kathmandu-based Baneshwor Gym. There are two other gyms — Dhobidhara-based Gym Halls and Silikhan.

Khadgi started giving training to youths at a rented hall of the Agriculture Development Bank in 1998.

“Thirty-five youths are taking training at my gymnasium. The number continues to increase. We are facing a shortage of equipment,” Khadgi says.

Owners say they have not been able to run their gymnasiums commercially. “So far our efforts are just service-oriented. We charge a nominal fee and give free-of-cost service sometimes”, owner of the Dhobidhara Gym Centre Basanta Timsina says. Sudip Shrestha, a youth from the Ilam bazaar, says youths have become aware of health issues after visiting gymnasiums. They have quit smoking and drinking, he says.