PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's top bodybuilder Sazali Samad has plenty to cheer about when he welcomes the first day of the Syawal month with his close family members at home today.
Sazali made the country proud when he beat 18 contestants to bag the Mr Universe title in the bantamweight division of the World Amateur Bodybuilding Championship in Moscow last Sunday.
Among those in the field were six-time world champion Anwar El Amawy of Egypt and four-time world champion Jose Santos of Brazil.
It was Sazali's second world crown after winning the same competition when it was held in Malacca in 2000.
And he can now look forward to being rewarded with RM20,000 under the National Sports Council (NSC) incentive scheme.
NSC director of international preparations Ahmad Shapawi Ismail confirmed the amount and said they appreciate the effort Sazali has put in all this while in his chosen discipline.
“Sazali continued with his training despite the fasting month and he had to made a lot of sacrifices. We decided to put him under the Gemilang 2006 programme squad and footed the bills for his food supplements.
“His achievement in Moscow was a pleasant surprise for us. We were targeting him to strike gold in the 2006 Asian Games in Busan.
“Now, we hope he will continue to do well in the next two years.”
|FACTFILE ON MR UNIVERSE |
NAME: Sazali Samad DATE OF BIRTH: August 8, 1967PLACE OF BIRTH: Batu Pahat, JohorOCCUPATION: Corporal in the Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM)CURRENT WEIGHT DIVISION: Bantamweight
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENTSWinning two Mr Universe titles in 2000 (Malacca) and 2004 (Moscow); Bronze in 2003 (Mumbai)
Sazali can expect to receive the award during the NSC's Hari Raya open house on Nov 23.
Sazali, who is with the Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM), views the reward from NSC as recognition of his effort.
“I wish to thank NSC director general Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad, PDRM and all those who have supported me all this while.
“This is one of the best Hari Raya gift for me. It will inspire me to continue training harder and defend my Mr Universe title in Shanghai next year,” said Sazali, who won his fifth Mr Asia title in Bahrain two months ago.
His triumph in Moscow has placed him as a strong contender to win the 2004 National Sportsman of the Year Award.
Sazali also has an extra reason to look forward to this year's Hari Raya celebrations, with the addition of a new family member.
His wife Hashrine Hashim, 34, gave birth to their third son Muhammad Hisyamuddin on Aug 8, which is coincidentally, also Sazali's birthday.
Yesterday Sazali returned home with his family to his parent's house in Batu Pahat for the festival.
“This will be a wonderful Hari Raya for me. I have a third son and ironically, both of us will celebrate our birthday on the same day.
“I believe his arrival brought me luck and enable me to win my second world title,” said the proud father.
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