Al-Ahram Weekly Online   16 - 22 December 2010
Issue No. 1027
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

The music of muscle

Egypt hosted and won the Arab club championship for bodybuilding

Click to view caption
Mabrouk, left, at the Cultural Palace Theatre in Borg Al-Arab, Alexandria

Egypt came first in the 2nd Arab Clubs Championship Cup for bodybuilding with eight gold, eight silver and five bronze medals. Iraq took second with one gold, one silver and three bronze. Jordan finished third with one bronze medal, Ghada Abdel-Kader reports.

Hosted at the aesthetically at Cultural Palace Theatre in Borg Al-Arab in Alexandria, the championship was held under the auspices of Alexandria Gov Adel Labib. Held from 25 to 29 November it attracted athletes from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab of Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen and Palestine, all playing in 39 clubs.

In the 60kg category, Egyptian Mina Bekheit took first place with a total score of 16. Mahmoud Abdel-Fattah finished second with 21 points and Mohamed Youssef got third with nine.

In 65kg, Egyptians Ahmed El-Sayed won gold, Mohamed Abdel-Moniem silver and Ismail Mohamed bronze.

In 70kg, Egyptians swept. Mohamed Ismail took first, Gamal Mohamed finished second and Abdel-Hamid Hassan got third.

In 75kg, Egyptian El-Said Awad won gold with 16 points, Iraqi Beshir Adel-Rasul won the silver medal with 21 and Jordan's Nabil Ibn Al-Hassan bronze medal with nine points.

In 80kg Iraqi Ghazwan Maniwell won first, followed by Egyptians Mahmoud Hassan and Yassin Ibrahim.

In 85kg Egypt's Mahmoud El-Dessouki took first, El-Shahat Hassan second and Asharf El-Sayed third.

In 90kg Egyptian Ibrahim Sami won the gold medal, Ahmed El-Wardani took silver and Iraqi Samir Abass bronze.

In 100kg Egypt's world bodybuilding champion El-Shahat Mabrouk won first place, while Egyptian Mustafa Nessim took second and Iraqi Ammar Mohsen third.

In +100kg Egypt's Ahmed Mansour won gold and Mohamed Zakaria won silver while Iraq's Dergham Jadallah took third.

Executive manager of the Egyptian and Arab Bodybuilding Federations Sami Bachir described bodybuilding as being very popular in Egypt. "It is played in all the big clubs but the biggest is Interior Club, the Egyptian Police Sports Federation and Telecom Egypt Club.

"There is a solid foundation of young players like Ismail Massoud in 75kg, Karim Abdel-Moniem in - 75kg and Mamdouh Abdel-Karim +75 kg." Aged between 17 and 19 they go to the World Juniors and Masters Championships in Antalya, Turkey from 10 to 13 December.

"We already won the last three World Junior Championships," Bachir told Al-Ahram Weekly.

"There are certain characteristics for bodybuilders -- large and sculpted muscles with a narrow waist. The best age to start practicing is at 16."

Bachir said it takes three years to turn a bodybuilder professional. "It takes time and money because it requires a strong commitment to diet and exercise."

Bachir added, "In the last 12 years, Egypt has finished in the top three. In the last five years, we have taken nothing but first place. El-Shahat Mabrouk and Anwar El-Amawi are the oldest champions in the history of bodybuilding in Egypt, winning first place and the world title 10 times. It's a record that can't be broken."

Bodybuilders did not at first take salaries from the federation. But thanks to the president of the Egyptian Bodybuilding Federation (EBF) Adel Fahim, 25 bodybuilders now take a monthly salary ranging from LE4,000 to LE6,000. "The distribution of money depends on results and what was accomplished in the world championship," Bachir said.

New talent has started to emerge like Ahmed Osman, three-time world champion and, Ahmed Hamouda in the +100kg category. Hamouda won a bronze medal in the World Championship in Azerbaijan. And Mohamed Zakaria has won two world championships.

Egypt does not have any athletes in the heavyweight division.

Last year the championship was also held in Alexandria. More than 27 clubs from 13 Arab countries participated then. It was also then that the General Assembly of the Arab Federation decided to hold the championship annually in Alexandria.

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