KOTA KINABALU: It may not be a victorious year for Sarawak at the annual Mr Malaysia National championships, but it signifies the need for continuous and comprehensive development of the sport.
In the just-concluded tournament, the team under Sarawak Bodybuilding Association (SBBA) placed fourth in the overall ranking of the total 16 contingents.
The Armed Forces (ATM) topped the tally, followed by Kuala Lumpur and Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).
In this respect, SBBA president Dato Wee Hong Seng said although Sarawak remained in the top five teams, he regarded the situation at this year’s Mr Malaysia event as both ‘encouraging and intimidating’.
“(It was) encouraging because I saw many new faces, including our very own Asrul Asmat Sefri from Miri who made his Mr Malaysia debut this year.
“The intimidating part is the realisation that we need such momentum to continue.
“I think Sarawak bodybuilding needs to rethink its position, and I know we can do it; after all, we have been Mr Malaysia’s overall champion three times,” he told The Borneo Post when met during the Mr Malaysia National Bodybuilding and Physique Championships 2019’s ‘Farewell Luncheon’ at Klagan Regency 1Borneo here today, where the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Sabah Tun Juhar Mahiruddin attended as the guest-of-honour.
Sabah Minister of Youth and Sport Phoong Jin Zhe, Malaysian Bodybuilding Federation honorary secretary and chief judge Lt-Com (Rtd) Kamaruzaman Kadir, Sabah Bodybuilding Association president Joannes Staneslous and his deputy Alik Makim, as well as key sponsor Krishna Kumar from Enrich Fitness, were also present.
Adding on, Wee further highlighted the focus on identifying potential bodybuilders who had proven to be very committed in the sport.
“For this group, the SBBA will do its very best to obtain training allowance from various parties, including the Sarawak Sports Corporation, so that their well-being as far as competitiveness is concerned, would be well taken care of.
“Those who represented Mr Malaysia this year will be included in this group.”
Wee also dismissed the need to engage foreign coaches as Sarawak already had its own accomplished ones in the likes of world champions Buda Anchah, Dr Malvern Abdullah and George Awi William.
“Rather than spending much on foreign trainers, the fund saved should go to the athletes, which is way much better,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sarawak fared well in this year’s tournament, with nine out of 12 athletes made the cut to the finals.
Joseph Ladi bagged a silver medal from the Bantamweight (60-65kg) category, behind champion Muhammad Izat Mislan of the ATM and ahead of Mohammad Faizul Mohd Said of Kuala Lumpur.
The bronze medallists are Mohd Azri Nazaruddin (Athletic Physique 170cm and Above), Azri Asmat Sefri (Light Flyweight 55kg and Below), Hamizan Zaudin (Flyweight 55-60kg) and Huang Chee Yan (Middleweight 80-85kg).
The top-five finalists are Asrul Asmat Sefri (Junior 70kg and Below), Ariff Azhan Mohamed Ghazali (Athletic Physique 170cm and Below), Mohamad Sani Sanawi (Welterweight 70-75kg) and Farrokh Ibtisam Ting Abdullah (Light Middleweight 75-80kg).
Anthony Rapheal, Awangku Hosin Awangku Bagul and Roslie Jamawi did not make the cut.
Overall, this year’s Mr Malaysia ‘Champion of Champions’ title went to Zmarul Al Adam Pulutan Abdullah of PDRM, who had earlier won the Welterweight category.
Loganathan Chandran of Penang earned the subsidiary title of ‘Best Poser’ through his energetic solo routine, accompanied by hip-hop track ‘2Legit 2Quit’ by MC Hammer.
Most significantly, the 50th edition of Mr Malaysia was also a historic one in that for the first time, it staged the women’s category, which was divided into two disciplines – physique and bodybuilding.
Sabah’s Shelen Adriana Kok and Kuala Lumpur’s Shee Wai Yeah won the inaugural Women’s Physique and Women’s Bodybuilding titles, respectively.
Placing runners-up in the women’s physique event were all Sabahans – Samsiah Gangau who finished second, Junaidah Mohammad (third) and Julita Masanlan (fourth).
In women’s bodybuilding, Marzura Mohd Ariffin of Kuala Lumpur, Lily Nur Izatty Ahmad of Sabah, and Tan Hwei Ling of Kedah placed first to third runners-up, respectively.