Monday,20 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1362, (28 September - 4 October 2017)
Monday,20 November, 2017
Issue 1362, (28 September - 4 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Big Ramy becomes bigger

Mamdouh Al-Sebai
Mamdouh Al-Sebai
Al-Ahram Weekly

Egypt’s Mamdouh Al-Sebai won the men’s professional bodybuilding event at the 2017 Arnold Classic Europe in Barcelona, Spain.

The Egyptian mighty bodybuilder, aka “Big Rami”, who claimed the $100,000 prize money offered to the winner, finished ahead of Ghana’s William Bonac and Jamaican American Shawn Rhoden.

The win for the 33-year-old Egyptian means the event has a new champion for the first time in three years after the USA’s Dexter “The Blade” Jackson won the previous two editions.

According to Generation Iron, an online network for bodybuilders, Big Rami took the stage in a confident mood and soon showed off the build and definition destined to wow the judges. The tournament’s official Instagram account relayed a snap of the Egyptian showcasing his physique, explaining that both his opponents Bonac and Rhoden couldn’t match Al-Sebai’s display, despite their own best efforts. He entered this event with a credible pedigree, having won the tournament back in 2012.

Ultimately, though, no other competitor in the bodybuilding event looked likely to stop Al-Sebai from becoming a worthy winner. It’s a step forward for the athlete who, earlier this month, claimed second place at the world’s greatest bodybuilding event, the 2017 Mr Olympia. Big Rami, a huge man with an overpowering upper body, was runner-up to Phil Heath of the US who did not compete in Barcelona. Bonac took third place. Jackson, the 48-year-old competitor, took fourth place, while Rhoden finished fifth.

Al-Sebai revealed his training has improved quite a bit over the years. “I have improved my training and everything I do, and that’s why I have been able to improve in the standings,” he said. “Phil Heath is the best body builder in the world and I am proud to be second,” Big Rami added.

Born in Baltim, in the Egyptian city of Kafr El-Sheikh, Al-Sebai won his pro card by winning the overall title at the 2012 Amateur Olympia in Kuwait  (trained by the professional trainer Amr Ibrahim Al Khalil), just three years after he started training. In 2010, Al-Sebai joined Oxygen Gym in Kuwait. By 2011, he weighed 200 lbs; when he stepped on the 2012 Amateur Olympia stage, he weighed in at 286 lbs and was declared the champion. In 2013, Al-Sebai made his IFBB pro debut at the New York Pro where he won that year and the following year as well. He also claimed first place at the 2015 Arnold Classic in Brazil.

Analysts believe Big Rami is on the rise and is set to take the bodybuilding world by storm, though turning pro just three years ago. Big Rami is literally seen as the next big thing that bodybuilding has to offer. Since exploding on to the scene with his first win at the New York Pro, Big Rami has been the subject of conversation when it comes to possible successors to the champion Heath. Though still outside the top five rankings, Big Rami is set to make a big push and could potentially upset the talented veterans at the top. Here are a few reasons why he could take over sooner than anyone expected.

Big Rami’s immense size is staggering and truly a sight to behold. Already a two-time New York Pro winner, Al-Sebai’s potential seems to be limitless. He has already risen from eighth place in the 2013 Mr Olympia competition to take seventh in the 2014 event. These are clear signs that not only is Al-Sebai a major factor within the top 10 rankings, but that he’s improving with every showing.

Al-Sebai’s definition is truly impressive as well. Though the major battle at this year’s Mr Olympia was between champion Heath and bitter rival Kai Greene, there has been talk from onlookers that Big Rami should’ve been in the conversation as well. The fact that he outweighs most of the other competitors while still maintaining such a ripped and well-proportioned physique should only be a sign of things to come.

His size brings to mind past larger than life bodybuilders like Sergio Oliva and Ronnie Coleman. Though he hasn’t reached their status of accolades, it’s hard to imagine Big Rami staying outside of the top five rankings. Once he enters the top five things will no doubt get interesting. His definition rivals that of the top five competitors and he still has many years ahead. At 33 years of age the sky’s the limit.

Al-Sebai had a few holes in his game in the past Mr Olympia competition. One can only imagine that if he shores up those holes while adding to his already impressive bulk, maintaining his definition and bettering his conditioning that he’ll be a threat to Dennis Wolf, Rhoden, Greene and the champ Heath himself. Only time will tell if the proud Egyptian will fully realise his potential. Maybe, in a few years, Big Rami will be the next Mr Olympia.

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