Sikkim’s ‘Iron Man’ has taken voluntary retirement from his service at the police department to work for youths and to promote ‘iron sports’ in the state.

Pema Dorjee Bhutia, 49, who was a head constable with the Sikkim Armed police (SAP) on Friday told the Press that he took voluntary retirement this month.

He served for 26 years in the SAP and had 10 more years of service left. “I decided to retire as I wanted to dedicate myself completely to sports and encourage youths, especially women and help budding lifters so that we can produce more national and international players who would win medals for the state and the country,” Mr Bhutia said.

Mr Bhutia hails from Martam in East Sikkim and is also the Chief Coach of the State Strength Lifting Association and Vice President of the State Weightlifting Association.

He has bagged medals in both national and international levels in Strength lifting, bodybuilding, weightlifting and powerlifting. He started bodybuilding in 1999, and he became Mr Sikkim-2009 at the age of 40, and also stood 3rd in the Mr Pangthang contest in 2000.

He started Strength lifting in 2013 and trained under Manoj Singh in Kolkata, after which he formed the Sikkim Strength Lifting Association and encouraged both youths and aged persons.

He has opened a gym at his residence and has hosted 3 editions of Mr Martam to promote youths from rural areas as well.”To become a successful sportsperson, one has to be dedicated, disciplined and must work hard,” he said.

He also said that age has no limit, if I can make it to international level at this age then so can you, he added. He also urged the Sports Department to at least give incentives to players who bag medals for the state to encourage and motivate them. He thanked his officer, ADGP Law & Order, Akshaye Sachdeva, for introducing him to bodybuilding from where there was no looking back.