Dubai: A confident 11-member UAE delegation will depart early this morning to participate in the Asian Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships being held in Hong Kong this week.
"We are presently going through the best phase for the sport in the UAE. As officials we are backing the bodybuilders and the athletes are giving it their best shot," Osama Ahmad Al Shafar, President of the UAE Bodybuilding Federation told Gulf News.
Al Shafar, who is also the President of the Asian Bodybuilding Federation, is confident of a much better showing from the UAE bodybuilders this week. "The athletes have a lot of self-belief and they are urging each other to achieve glory for the country," Al Shafar stated.
"I am expecting at least three gold medals from our team this time," Al Shafar added.
The UAE squad returned with five medals at the competition held in Shanghai in October last year. The men bagged one silver and a bronze, while the juniors brought home two silvers and a bronze.
The six bodybuilders have been in training for the past six months and coach Ali Mohammad Abdullah too feels the UAE can come up with their best-ever performance.
"We have a lot of hope on the juniors," the coach said.
The training regimen for the athletes has been held twice a day, with the morning session devoted to cardio exercises and development of small muscles, while the evening session aimed at developing the abdomen and bigger muscles.
"We had a training programme in mind and we had all the support of the president [Osama Al Shafar] and the other officials," the coach added. The competition is being hosted by Hong Kong China as a trial run for next year's East Asian Games.
This year's competition has received a huge response with participants from 42 countries assembling.
Competitions being held over the next few days include the 42nd Asian Men's Bodybuilding Championships, the 25th Asian Women's Bodybuilding Championships, the 10th Asian Ms Fitness Championships, the 5th Asian Women's Body Fitness Championships, the 2nd Asian Mr Fitness Championships, the 10th Asian Men's Masters Championships and the 21st Asian Men's Junior Championships.
UAE squad: (Men) Zuwaid Salmeen (heavyweight); Mohammad Ali (90kgs); Mohammad Al Zahmi (70kgs); Ayoub Al Ammari (55kgs). (Juniors) Isaq Ali (>75kgs); Ahmad Eisa Mattar (<75kgs). Officials: Ali Mohammad Abdullah (coach); Faisal Hammadi (referee/judge); Jassem Al Mazen (assistant coach); Hussain Al Safar (general secretary); Osama Ahmad Al Shafar (president).
Governing: Disciplines set to split
Bodybuilding and Weightlifting in the UAE may have separate governing bodies within the next one month.
"I have met Ebrahim Abdul Malek [secretary general of the UAE NOC] and he is fully in favour of two separate bodies to govern the sport in the UAE," Osama Al Shafar, President of the Asian Bodybuilding Federation and UAE Bodybuilding Federation told Gulf News.
Up until now the two sports have been governed by a common body, the Emirates Weightlifting and Bodybuilding Association.