Mumbai readies to host World Body Building Championships

Sep 18, 2014, 09:05 IST | Hemal Ashar

It is all about max set reps and getting ripped, as Mumbai readies to host the World Body Building Championships

It was Popeye biceps, striated triceps and boulders for shoulders at Mumbai’s Press Club in SoBo on Tuesday morning, as the Indian Body Builders Federation (IBBF), announced it is set to host the 6th World Body Building and Physique Sports Competition 2014 from December 7 to 9 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, NESCO (Goregaon).

Indian body builders show themselves as simply shredded. Pics/Sameer Markande
Indian body builders show themselves as simply shredded. Pics/Sameer Markande

Amongst the firsts is that women body builders are going to be part of this “festival” said Madhukar Talwalkar, the 81-year-old grand young man of body building and chairman of the organising committee.

Talwalkar’s words conjured up a carnival-like atmosphere at the Goregaon venue, with body builders exchanging notes about how much they bench, a chance for fans to meet some of the finest body builders in the world and debate about body building trends all over the world. The eight pack ab carnival (six packs are for Bollywood) may be coming to town, but let not the ‘carnival’ description hide the fact that this is a serious competition.

Pradeep Madhok speaks at the press conference

Pradeep Madhok speaks at the press conference

“We hope to have body builders from European strongholds of Austria and Hungary here. The Asian powerhouse of body building is Iran,” stated Pradeep Madhok, president, Indian Body Builders Federation (IBBF) and president of the World Body Building and Physique (WBPF) Federation. The strapping Madhok is a Varanasi native and stated that he would speak to the press in a mix of Hindi and English.

Madhukar Talwalkar (81) shows the benefit of lifting iron
Madhukar Talwalkar (81) shows the benefit of lifting iron

From rift to ripped
Originally, the Federation was considering hosting the event in Pune, but they took into consideration availability of flights from across the world, and Mumbai got the vote. Madhok added, “Today (pointing to the dais) the very fact that we are sitting together on this stage, to announce the World Body Building Championships is a matter of so much pride.” (If that chest could expand even more, it did). “This is a salute to the unsung heroes of the past, those that did so much for this sport but were not famous or did not get publicity, as body building was hardly visible in the media then.”

Madhok then used the platform to focus on the problems of body building in India. Paramount amongst them is a lack of unity amongst governing bodies, with different bodies claiming to be the official Indian body building association or federation. Said Madhok, “It was in 2002 that we saw a definite rift and body building became fragmented.

Just like Russia broke up into many parts, so too did Indian bodybuilding,” he stated rather evocatively using a political analogy. Madhok explained, “It was in 2010, that factions sat together in an effort to bring Indian body building together through ‘Talwalkar uncle’” he said, referring to Madhukar Talwalkar. “He is a father figure, and his attempt to cement the cracks was because everybody realized that the sport was suffering because of these divisions.”

Those fissures have not fully healed but there has been a valiant attempt to bring everybody together. Madhok added that despite everything there are detractors, “When I became WBPF President, there was a letter circulated questioning credentials and merits. It made me sad. We must be proud that an Indian heads this body, when we see the tricolour flying at bodybuilding meets, one must weep with pride, not try to bring down your own countrymen.”

Of quads and evens
Madhok came back to the December competition stating that though there are 140 countries under the body building umbrella, India is expecting athletes from 50 countries to participate. “There are several visa issues for different countries, remember too, that this tourney is going to be held without government support, there are a handful of people putting in money. Pakistan has sent in 24 entries till date, I do not know what the visa status is currently.”

Talwalkar said that he hoped for “many gold medals” from “The Indian team, selection trials for which will be held very shortly.” Talwalkar added, “This is the first time that the IBBF is hosting the world event. There have been two previous World Championships in Mumbai and I had seen them, though they were not held under the auspices of the IBBF.

I would say the organisation was not up to the mark, in these. Post one of them, all the winners were debarred because of banned substances.” Talwalkar stated that there is going to be a huge effort to see that this competition “is the best ever, (accent on best) in the country.” He made an earnest appeal to the press to cover the event and be present at the competition to fully imbibe and understand the nuances of the sport, the debate it evokes, the excitement and the indescribable feeling that this bodybuilding “festival” would evoke.

Chetan Pathare, general secretary, IBBF stated that they were expecting, “at least 150 women to participate,” and officials adding that the categories for women kept in mind ‘Indian culture’”. The Indian men’s squad is going to be divided into the ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams. While December is still a while away, the Federation is in an absolute whirl with preparations for athletes and officials for an event of such magnitude.

They are expected to be put up at two five-star hotels close to the venue. One can expect a huge amount of lean protein, especially eggs (Body builders consume up to 20 egg whites a day during season, so imagine what 400 body builders would eat in a three-day period, you do the Math) in those five-star kitchens. Meanwhile, physical fitness aficionados are expected to fill in the spectator seats as a tribute to the body beautiful. As they say in body building lingo, ‘If the bar ain’t bending you’re just pretending.’

The 6th World Body Building and Physique Sports Competition is divided into 35 categories with both men and women athletes vying for top spots in Body Building, Model Physique, Athletic Physique and Sports Physique categories. There is a separate category of Junior and Master’s for men’s Body Builders below 21 and 40-49 (below 80 kg and above 80 kg), 50-59 years and 60-69 years.

At a glance
What: The 6th World Body Building and Physique Sports Competition 2014.
Where: At the Bombay Exhibition Centre, NESCO in Mumbai.
When: The championship will be held from December 7 to 9, 2014. 
How: The World Bodybuilding Championship will see 400 national and international athletes. India will also host Women Body Builders and Physique Athletes for the first time.

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