Medical laboratorian claims light-heavyweight win in Singapore

Jeremiah (centre) joins runners-up Ehab (left) and Mohamad (right) in a victory pose after the prize presentation. Also seen is IFBB Malaysia president Edmund Chong (second right).

SINGAPORE: Nearly a year’s worth of hard training and discipline has not gone in vain for Jeremiah Rukong, who emerged champion of the Above-85kg category at the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Singapore Nationals 2018 here on Sunday.

The 37-year-old Kuchingite outperformed top finalists Ehab Nasser of Egypt and Mohamad Naser from the hosting country, to clinch the men’s international light-heavyweight title.

“I was shocked – I think I still am. Based on several regional outings before, I know that it is very challenging when it comes to going up against other international contestants – the standards are different. For the Singapore Nationals, my initial expectation was to be among the top three.

“However, I am humbled by this feat. I’m also very thankful to my family and friends, especially those from Rebel Fitness and Explode Gym who have always been highly supportive of me,” said the medical laboratory technologist, who serves under Samarahan Division Health Office.

Jeremiah, who is of Bidayuh-Chinese parentage, regarded his win at the outing here as his highest accomplishment since his first international competition in 2014.

“This Singapore victory encourages me to go harder, as I prepare for another IFBB championship scheduled to take place in Bali, Indonesia on Oct 12-14 this year,” he added.

Jeremiah made his bodybuilding debut at Mr Sarawak 2000, where he won the Junior category.

His first regional appearance was at Mr Borneo 2014, staged in Kota Belud, Sabah – where he placed first runner-up in the Men’s Bodybuilding Above-80kg category.

He then competed at FitWhey Classic 4.0 championships in Bangkok, Thailand in 2015, where he placed among the top six contestants in the Men’s Bodybuilding Open Above-75kg category.

A year later, he staged a very commendable performance at Singapore Grand Prix 2016, grabbing first runner-up placing in two categories – Men’s Bodybuilding Novice and Men’s Sports Model Class-S (165-170cm).