IT takes Kuching muscleman Awang Mohd Azizul Ghani four years of competing to finally clinch the coveted Mr Sarawak championship title.
The judges picked the 28-year-old security officer among nine category winners at the finals held at Boulevard Shopping Mall in Miri last weekend.
However, it was a tough call for the panel to decide on the “Champion of Champions” as Azizul faced a line-up of strong contenders, especially against this year’s Mr Miri, Eddie Chan, who was obviously the crowd’s favourite.
Met by The Star after the event, Azizul said he was thankful that all those years of hard training had finally paid off.
“Now my focus is on the Mr Malaysia championships next month (June 6-8) in Putrajaya, where the competition will be even more challenging, especially from Royal Police team. Hopefully, I will fare well,” said the bodybuilder who is endorsed by Phoenix Gym Kuching.
Category-wise, Azizul was chosen over city comrade Mohd Kamarrudin Mustapha to be named the Light Middleweight (75.1-80kg) winner.
For Chan, he was happy to be able to lead the hosting team at this year’s outing. The 32-year-old emerged triumphant in the Light Heavyweight (85.1-90kg) category, with Donny Fam of Kuching finishing second and Yong Chin Ho of Sibu, third.
Overall the Kuching squad retained their supremacy in the state-level champion- ships, sweeping seven out of nine categories competed.
Nevertheless, the hosts fared quite commendably with two wins, seven first runner-up finishes and two third placers.
Organising chairman Jamilah Ibrahim, pleased with the results, said these were due to the healthy growth of gym and fitness centres around the resort city.
“We are thrilled to be given the hosting job this year, which traditionally is rotated between Kuching, Sibu and Miri every three years.
“It is our hope that given the support of Sarawak Sports Ministry under the helm of Datuk Lee Kim Shin and Sarawak Bodybuilding Association under Datuk Wee Hong Seng, Miri will one day be trusted to host the prestigious national-level Mr Malaysia championships.
“I believe this is not an impossible dream,” said Jamilah, who is also Miri Bodybuilding Association (MBBA) president.
In his speech, Lee said he was impressed by the local body for the successful organisation of the event.
“As you can see, all contestants are men but MBBA is headed by a woman. This is not an easy feat, especially when the revamped body is barely five months old.
“I had a meeting with Jamilah earlier in which she told me it’s been a very challenging journey so far for MBBA.
“I get the hint (smiled). As such, my ministry in its support for the development of the sport, will contribute RM5,000 to MBBA.
“As some of you read recently, our Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem was quoted as having said that given its rate of progress, Miri could very well overtake Kuching in every aspect in the near future.
“It is possible for this city to become a hub for many sporting events such as Mr Malaysia, with the help and support of all stakeholders.” Lee said.