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Day before main event, Syrian bodybuilder dies

Participant was reportedly trying to lose weight by not drinking water for over 48 hours and consuming weight-loss pills

The 65th World Amateur Bodybuilding Championship (formerly known as Mr Universe), which is being held in Mumbai for the second time, began on a sad note with the death of 28 year-old Mahmoud Ibrahim Al-hadidi, a participant from Syria.

Al-hadidi, a well known face in the amateur bodybuilding circuit, died in Andheri on Friday during rehearsals.


Participants rehearse a day before the finale. Pic/ Sameer Markande

According to the Secretary of the Indian Body Building Federation, Sanjay More, Al-hadidi's body had failed to adjust to Mumbai's sweltering heat. "During a practice session his blood pressure dipped due to which he collapsed and suffered a head injury," said More. He was then rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. 

A senior police inspector probing the case said, "It is a case of natural death but we are still investigating the matter." However, a bodybuilder, who is participating in the competition, told Sunday MiD DAY that Al-hadidi was trying to lose weight. "He (Al-hadidi) weighed 74 kilograms and was trying to lose four more kgs. He hadn't drunk water for the last two days and was also fasting. He had also consumed pills for losing weight," he said.

According to the postmortem findings, Al-hadidi suffered a heart attack. His organs will now be sent for histo-pathalogical examinations, which will help investigators understand if he was suffering from any ailment.

Dr Pratit Samdani, physician, Breach Candy said, "If a person stops drinking water for two days, there's a high possibility that his kidneys will turn dry and lead to a renal failure. But lack of water in the body cannot lead to a heart attack.  Instead, he might have taken some drugs that could have led to an attack."

Dignitaries like President Pratibha Patil and Balasaheb Thackeray are expected to attend the finale today.
With inputs by Priyanka Vora

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