Bodybuilding: The 8th National Bodybuilding Championship in Thimphu will be an all-star showdown, as past winners will compete in the same category for the prestigious Mr Bhutan title on June 6.

The two-time title holders, Tshering Dorji and Tandin Wangchen, and last year’s champion Pema Thekchok will all compete in the same heavyweight category this year.

Mr Bhutan 2014, Pema Thekchok, said that the championship this year would be interesting with all big names in the game competing in the same category. “I’ve no expectations but will give my best,” he said.

Two-time Mr Bhutan, Tandin Wangchen, sharing similar thoughts, said that he had taken the national championships seriously this year. “The level of training I’ve undergone this year is surprising. I’ve never trained like this before,” he said. “I’ll give my 110 percent during the championship.”

The general secretary of Bhutan Bodybuilding and Weight Lifting Federation (BBWLF), Wangchuk, said that, unlike in past competitions, where all participants were put in the same group, this year they have introduced the weight categories, where individuals with the same weight will be put together for the competition.

Wangchuk said that decision has encouraged more individuals to take part in the competition. “The number of participants has almost doubled this year,” he said.  More than 30 individuals have registered themselves for the championship. 

For the first time the federation is also introducing Open Women Model Physique Championship to encourage more women to take up bodybuilding.  A total of five women are taking part in this year’s championship.

Yeatoeh Lhamo Penjore, the first woman to venture into bodybuilding, will make her debut appearance in a national competition after representing the country in two international competitions last year.

Participants this year were given four months for training. “The competition this year is going to be very competitive. I’ve seen most of the participants with impressive bodies during the training sessions,” Wangchuk said.

He said that the competition was not just meant to build bodies, but to promote wellbeing of individuals through bodybuilding. “The hardest thing about earning a title is the ability to live up to it,” he said. “Bodybuilding should be a lifestyle for every individual, who wants to stay fit and healthy.” 

The elite participants from the championship will represent Bhutan during the 49th Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Championship in Uzbekistan, and the World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship in Bangkok.

The BBWLF was established in 2004.  From two gyms in the past, the country currently has about 11 gyms, of which the most are located in the capital.

Younten Tshedup