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Monday November 9, 2009
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Bodybuilder Sazali Samad flexed his way to a historic fifth Mr Universe title in the 63rd Men’s World Amateur Championships in Doha on Saturday night.
Sazali successfully held off his challengers in the below 65kg (bantamweight) category final to seal his place in the history of the championships as Malaysia’s most successful bodybuilder.
Alaa Hlail Mohsin of Iraq took the silver while the bronze went to Somkhit Sumethowetchakun of Thailand. A total of 35 competitors took part in the category.
Sazali said he was determined not to miss out on the gold after moving back to the lighter weight category.
“I came in fourth in the pre-judging on Friday and I knew I had to do much better in the final to have a chance to win the contest.
“I am thankful I did not let down my concentration. It feels great to be a five-time champion and I think I am the first from Asia to achieve this feat,” said Sazali in a telephone interview from Qatar.
Sazali took his first world crown when Malaysia hosted the championships in 2000. He repeated the feat in Moscow in 2004. He was the silver medallist in the 2005 edition in Shanghai but bounced back to win again in Ostrava, the Czech Republic, in 2006.
The next year, Sazali emerged triumphant for the fourth time — this time in the below 70kg (lightweight) category — in Jeju Island, South Korea.
Sazali initially finished fourth in the World Championships in Manama, Bahrain, last year but was later promoted to bronze medal position after the competitor tested positive for doping.
The 42-year-old policeman from Batu Pahat was also the winner at the Asian Championships in Pattaya in August this year. Coupled with his latest triumph, Sazali is now tipped to win his third National Sportsman of the Year award.
Sazali was the National Sportsman of the Year in 2000 and 2006.
Besides Sazali, three other Malaysians also competed in Doha.
Buda Anchah qualified for the final but eventually settled for fourth in the below 60kg category.
Mohd Syarul Azman was placed seventh in the below 70kg class while Othman Yahya was eighth in the below 90kg competition.
For the record, Clancy Ang was the first Malaysian to win a world title in 1962.
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