Bhutanese athletes make history, wins 11 medals
Bodybuilding: Mahdi Sabzevari of Iran was crowned Mr Asia 2016 on the final day of the 50th Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship conducted at the Royal Institute of Management auditorium in Thimphu yesterday.
The champion of champions, Mr Asia, was selected among the gold medalists in the bodybuilding category.
The 34-year-old Iranian who also won the gold medal in men’s bodybuilding over 100kg category is taking part in an international competition for the first time.
Mahdi Sabzevari said 15 years of hard work and commitment to the sport finally paid off for him in a country where he found solace and support from people he didn’t even know.
“I’m very happy for my achievement, but more than that I’m glad I won my first Asian championship in Bhutan, a country filled with happy and supporting people,” said the champion.
The Iranian added that with the good wishes and inspiration he gathered over the past three days in the country, he would train harder for the upcoming World competition later in Bangkok in November.
Mahdi Sabzevari has won several other bodybuilding competitions in Iran, including the national championship this year.
Meanwhile, the Bhutanese athletes at the competition created history by winning a total of 11 medals in different categories, the highest so far in an international competition.
A total of 26 athletes, 19 men and seven women represented the country at the competition.
Tseten Drukpa, Thinley Dorji and Sangay Tsheltrim won gold in men’s bodybuilding up to 55kg category, men’s fitness physique over 165cm category and men’s athletic physique up to 175cm category respectively.
Bhutanese athletes also bagged seven bronze and a silver, including the second position in the men’s team competition.
Although none of the Bhutanese women could win a medal at the competition, Damcho Zam and Yeatoeh Lhamo Penjore finished at the top five in the women’s model physique over 165cm category.
General secretary of the Bhutan Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Federation (BBWF), Wangchuk, said that the performance from the Bhutanese athletes this year was beyond expectations. “A history has been created. This is the best result the federation has achieved so far in an international competition.”
Wangchuk said that not only was the event successful, but it also ended with an opportunity to host bigger international events in the near future.
Prime Minster Tshering Tobgay, who was present at the closing event yesterday, congratulated the federation and all the participants for the eventful programme and celebration of what the human body can achieve with determination and hard work.
Lyonchen added that although young, BBWF has achieved the biggest success for the country.
The main event of the weeklong competition began on September 5 in Thimphu where HRH Princess Euphelma Choden Wangchuck graced the opening ceremony.
Over 450 international athletes and officials from 28 Asian countries took part in the competition.