PETALING JAYA: Malaysia had a grand day at the World Bodybuilding and Physique Championships as two veterans and a rookie flexed their way to gold medals in the Hungarian city of Budaors on Friday night.
Sazali Samad showed age was just a number as he claimed an unprecedented ninth world title in the below-70kg category.
Sazali, who turned 45 on Oct 8, led the way through pre-judging and maintained his form in the final to notch a historic triumph for Malaysia.
The Batu Pahat-born sub inspector is on record the most successful bodybuilder Malaysia has produced.
He claimed his first Mr Universe title in the 65kg category (bantamweight) in Malacca in 2000, followed by wins in Moscow (2004) and Ostrava, Czech Republic (2006).
Sazali later moved up to the lightweight (70kg) category and won it on his first attempt in Jeju, South Korea (2007) before victories in Dubai (2009), Varanasi, India (2010), Malacca (2011) and Bangkok last year.
Sazali, who won the National Sportsman Award in 2000, said it was his failure to defend his Asian title that played on the back of his mind as he flew off to Hungary on Monday.
”I am older now compared to when I won the world title for the first time many years ago but it is more of a challenge now to maintain the training.
”It’s why I am satisfied to become the champion again especially as I am up against younger competitors. God willing, I want to bring home the SEA Games gold for Malaysia next month as it’s been some time since we won at the regional level,” said Sazali from Budaors.
Sazali, interestingly, is also the last Malaysian gold medallist in bodybuilding, achieving the feat in Vietnam in 2003. Bodybuilding was also held in Korat in 2007 but Sazali did not compete and only went there as a trainer.
Meanwhile, another veteran Buda Anchah also shone for Malaysia, winning gold in the Masters Open category. The 40-year-old, who hails from Kuching, is a six-time Mr Malaysia winner and this is his best result at a world championships.
Newcomer Roszaimi Abdul Rani made his world meet debut in style by grabbing the third gold for Malaysia in the Junior Open category.
The 20-year-old from Kuantan also claimed bronze in the below-60kg category in what is only his second international outing. Roszaimi won a silver in the Asian Championships in Ho Chi Minh City in August this year.Like Sazali, Buda and Roszaimi are also bound for the SEA Games bodybuilding competition, which will take place in Yangon.