Profile: He cannot hear the music. He cannot communicate with others. Still, with all the odds on his side, Tashi is competing against some of the elite bodybuilders in Asia in the on-going 50th Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship in Thimphu.

This is a story of Tashi who is a hearing- and speech-impaired bodybuilder. His interest and dedication for the sport has led Tashi to the grandest stage of them all, the Asian bodybuilding competition.

However, the journey so far for the 26-year-old was a rough one. Misery struck Tashi year after year after failing to make a mark during the national level competitions. He was often seen shedding tears at the backstage after each competition.

But for Tashi, the failures did not deter him from continuing his journey and, with time, he grew stronger both physically and mentally.

“I want to set an example for people like me and encourage them to continue with whatever they love doing,” said Tashi. “With all the faults we have, we can still be normal for we are not lesser than any average person.”

Tashi has been into bodybuilding for the last seven years. His interest to keep himself fit and healthy from the inside motivates him to continue with the sport. Tashi will compete in the junior section of the fitness physique category at the mega Asian bodybuilding competition today at the Royal Institute of Management auditorium in Thimphu.

For the competition Tashi has been training with 2015 Mr Bhutan, Lobzang Tshering. The amount of time required to train Tashi is twice more than what is usually needed for any other trainee said Lobzang Tshering.

“I have to practically take him to the vegetable market and pharmacies and show which vegetables and medicines he should take,” said the former Mr Bhutan.

Lobzang Tshering believes that Tashi has a good chance of making a mark in this competition with all the time and hard work he has put in so far. “This is his biggest opportunity and with the current body he has managed to built, he has really big chance of making it to the top three.”

However, it all depends on Tashi – how he presents himself to the judges on the stage today. Although Tashi cannot hear the music, he can feel the vibration from it. He also needs to look around at his competitors and accordingly pose as instructed. Presentation is very essential in this competition, said Lobzang Tshering.

Today Tashi earns his living from training new members at the Fitness Dragon gym in Thimphu.

Younten Tshedup