Bodybuilding meet a defining moment for India
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It may well be a defining moment for the sport in India when the 57th Men’s World Bodybuilding Championships are held at the Cricket Club of India’s Brabourne Stadium here from November 5 to 9. Datuk Paul Chua, vice-president for Asia, International Bodybuilding Federation (IFBB), who arrived in Mumbai for a final inspection, emphasised that it was a golden opportunity for those associated with bodybuilding here to promote the sport in India.
Indian Bodybuilding Federation president Madhav Pujari has taken stock, as Mumbai braces up to play host to around 350 bodybuilders from around 80 nations including USA, Germany, Poland, Russia, Korea and Turkey.
‘‘It’s a long story,’’ said Chua, as he revealed the world apex body’s decision to stage the ‘‘Mr Universe’’ competition in Mumbai. ‘‘It was Madhav Pujari’s dream to bring the World Championships here. Apart from India, there was Russia, Poland and China who also staked their claim. But Pujari convinced us that he had received huge support from your government. There was a voting process and ninety per cent were in favour of India staging the championships. Mumbai is also well known and Bollywood stirred everybody to come here,’’ explained Chua.
India, he recalled, had also produced great bodybuilding champions and pointed out that the championships would be held in open air for the first time. ‘‘Besides, November is a winter month. So it will be cool, the right time to have the event here. As the representative of the world body, I arrived in Mumbai for inspection armed with a ream of documents. But to my surprise and delight, everything was in place. I didn’t have to do much and my visit became just a formality. I was convinced,’’ added Chua.
Chua also sees the Mr Universe championships as an opportunity for an Indian to clinch the title. He said, ‘‘Bodybuilders from the host country could make it and the IFBB was in a position to help out. I believe, not only an Asian but an Indian in particular could win the title. The IFBB would like to help your bodybuilders. If the Indian federation could choose about three top bodybuilders who it feels has a chance, they could come over to Singapore for training,’’ Chua suggested.