Raiyan Rahman is a name that has been making headlines in recent times after the 18-year-old finished fourth in the World Powerlifting Championship earlier in August this year in Turkey.
He spoke in depth about his journey so far and plans for the future in an exclusive interview with The Business Standard.
Raiyan's journey in powerlifting began in 2019 January when he started going to the gym.
"I was confident about my physique but a person I liked told me otherwise. So that gave me the motivation to start working out."
As time went by, his current powerlifting coach Tahsin Ali saw his potential in him and suggested he start powerlifting and compete in the National Powerlifting Championships in Bangladesh.
"So I started powerlifting for the nationals in August 2021. I competed against grown-ups as there was no age category and still managed to finish second in the under-59 kg weight class."
There, Raiyan managed to create two national records for squats (172.5 kgs) and deadlifts (185 kgs) for his weight class, and a higher score in bench presses would have given him the national title.
"Bench presses are a bit of a weakness for me because of how my body is built genetically. You need a big back for being good at bench presses," he admits.
However, powerlifting is such a scientific sport, that your weakness in one area can be a strength in another, and that is the case with Raiyan, as his body type and long arms allow him to do well in deadlifts.
Raiyan details the challenges he's had to face so far in his powerlifting journey.
"I come from a family of five, three brothers, my mom and my dad. I'm the middle child. When I started powerlifting, I had to make sure I eat right. I had to change my diet, learn to cook and make my own meals best suited for my body. It's not easy when you're going out to a family event and you can't eat the food. A lot of people here will think I'm being snooty but I really need to watch what I eat," he explains.
"My parents never really were a hindrance or an obstacle when I started powerlifting. But now that I'm doing well, they take more interest and are super supportive. My father is a businessman and my mother is a homemaker and they've helped provide me with a good life."
Raiyan, who is currently studying in an English medium school - Mangrove International - and preparing for his A Levels exams, has to juggle between studies and powerlifting.
But his planning for the World Powerlifting Championships was meticulously executed.
He reveals that his goal was to finish in the top five, with how he prepared and targeted to do well in squats and deadlifts.
"I lifted 170 kgs in squats and finished second in my weight division (under-59 kgs) among sub-juniors (powerlifters aged 18 or under). That got me a silver medal. And then I lifted 192.5 kgs during deadlifts, and that gave me third place and a bronze medal. In bench presses, I lifted 87.5 kgs and that brought my total to 450 kgs lifted and got me fourth place."
Now Raiyan's next goal is the participate in the Asian Powerlifting Championships later this December and finish in the top three there.
He has time on his hands but he wants to make the most of it.
Although powerlifting is not popular in Bangladesh, he feels more and more people will pick it up if they see people from Bangladesh on the international stage.
"I want to start the first-ever powerlifting gym in Bangladesh one day too so that more people can train in the right way and compete worldwide."
At this rate, Raiyan Rahman is a name, we will be hearing more of in the upcoming years when it comes to powerlifting.