International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness


New best national team of the world.
New, fantastic champion of the champions.

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Matthias Busse (

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For most of participants of the 2013 IFBB Men’s Bodybuilding Championships Marrakesh was a new and intriguing destination point. Marrakesh is an old city founded in 1062 by a desert warrior and western Sahara Berbers chieftain Abu Bakr ibn Umar. Quickly received its underground water system to irrigate its gardens and became a cultural, religious and trading center for the Maghreb (Northwest Africa, west of Egypt) and sub-Saharan Africa. In one of these gardens – El Saadi Gardens & Resort, IFBB International Congress took place Thursday morning, before the finals.
Located between the snow-covered High Atlas Mountains and the Atlantic coast, has a hot semi-arid, steppe climate, with mild damp winters and hot dry summers. All Championships participants were happy with the daily temperatures much over 20 C: Europeans and North Americans because of warmer weather conditions; South Americans and Asians because of colder conditions that in their countries in this part of a year.
The participants were accommodated in the Kasbah Hotel. In Arabic tradition, Kasbah is a type of citadel or fortress necessary to survive when the city was under attack. For our bodybuilders it was rather a place to survive after a long, over a dozen of weeks low-calorie pre-contest diet. After the weigh-in they could start their carb-loading phase, pumping muscles with nutrients, energy and water. The whole trick is to eat and drink a proper amount of carbs and water: if too much, the underskin water will ruin your muscle definition. It was seen on the stage that many athletes failed to do carb loading in a proper manner, showing too smooth “foggy” muscles.
This year’s Championships was the first IFBB top international event hosted by the Maghreb’s country and the fourth Worlds in Africa, after Pretoria (1975) and Cairo (1981and 2002). Bodybuilding exploded in Northern Africa after the great success of Moroccan bodybuilder Mohammed Touri, who won the overall title at the 2010 Worlds in Baku, Azerbaijan. Then there was an unexpected overall victory of Libyan champion Salah Abufanas in 2012 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. This year we saw also a very strong team from Algeria. Moreover, the next Maghreb’s country, Mauretania, joined the IFBB as the 189 affiliated nation. So, North Africa has become one of the most active and successful regions in the IFBB worldwide family.
But not only. Many bodybuilders from Venezuela, South Korea, South Africa, Japan and India entered the finals, not to mention the biggest and strongest bodybuilding nest nowadays – Middle East, with Iran and Egypt as the leaders. Regarding Europe, the biggest and strongest teams came from Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland and Spain but their “artillery” was not enough powerful to shoot down a lot of medals.
The average sport quality of athletes has jumped up to the clouds, so many countries sent smaller teams, having no athletes of so big caliber; however altogether 59 countries participated in these Championships, what is close to the record number of 65 from the mid 1990s. President Santonja’s goal is to have over 100 countries at the World Men’s Championships and IFBB annual Congress because this is the IFBB most important event and key decisions are made regarding the IFBB policy and development. Support him in this great idea!
One of the biggest sensations of these Championships was the best teams classification victory of Iran, which dethroned Egypt, pushing it down to the 2nd place. Egypt won the best teams classification for 6 years in a row (2007-2012), following Slovakia’s win in 2006. Egypt brought its strongest team to Marrakesh, with few world champions, but only one of them won the gold medal this time: Mohammed Zakaria, who later on was declared the champion of the champions as well. Zakaria has become the second Egyptian winning the overall title, after El Shahat Mabrouk victory in 2003 in Mumbai, India, so – despite having so many world champions – the Egyptian Federation had to wait long 10 years for this title. This is their outstanding success and they celebrated it with great happiness.
The change of the best teams leadership is also a sign of a quick bodybuilding development in many regions of the world. Iran has built its powerful bodybuilding team for many years, winning their first gold medal in 1999 (Mohsen Yazdani). Now Yazdani is a trainer of some top Iranian bodybuilders like Mahdi Ayari. Then there was an era of Baito Abbaspour (gold medals in 2003 and 2008), who now is a pro bodybuilder, and Ali Tabrizi (gold medal for Iran in 2008 plus a couple of “golds” for Qatar). Then gold medal of Ahmed Paydar in 2011. Now Iran reached the top level, winning 3 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals in Marrakesh and its first the best team title in history.
Korea was very close, winning two gold medals and two silver. Egypt won 1 gold and 3 silver medals and lost its 4th silver medal due to the disqualification of Mahmoud El Fadaly. And two gold medals for Libya.
First time in the IFBB history Africa entered the biggest number of finalists (19) what gives 35%. Asia entered 17 finalists (31%) and Europe 12 (22%); however in the medal classification Asia won 14 medals (52%), Africa 10 medals (37%) and Europe 3 medals (11%).
The tension tied with fighting for medals in the finals is so big that some athletes can’t control themselves and show improper behavior on the stage. Egypt lost the best team title due to the unsportsmanlike behavior of the silver medal winner Mahmoud El Fadaly (85 kg class) who openly demonstrated his dissatisfaction during the victory ceremony and was disqualified. This was the second case of this type in a short period of time, after disqualification of the other well-known champion Hamdullah Aykutlug (Turkey) at the World Junior and Master Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a week earlier.
This is a clear message that the IFBB Code of Ethics for athletes should be observed by themselves. In point 5 of this Code we can read – “To accept the decisions of the judges, officials and administrators in the spirit of good sportsmanship without descending to selfish recriminations, realizing that these decisions have been made honestly, fairly, and objectively.”
No exception will be made even for the greatest champions. Athletes must realize that due to the fast development of our sport in many regions and countries, there are more and more top quality athletes, so the battle on the stage is often very tough and very close. You may be in your best shape and still will not win your category if some other athletes look a bit better.
Nowadays, even the perfect body condition and shape don’t guarantee the final success. If more athletes are in top condition, judges look for better overall body proportions and body lines as well as bigger and more impressive muscularity. The best combination of all these factors decides who will be the winner.
A few competitors were scored down due to the unnatural contours of their muscles. In an era of easily available body corrections by plastic surgeries, liquid injections and other artificial methods, some bodybuilders decide to use these methods, what is forbidden in the IFBB.
What’s interesting, competitors usually try to “improve” through this forbidden methods their peripheral muscles like rear deltoids, side deltoids, biceps or triceps, thinking that this is a key to their success. The truth is that these small muscles don’t decide on the final success. Take care of your thighs, lats, pecs, abs, upper and middle back muscles. These muscles create the overall shape of your body and are much more impressive. Judges look for them in their assessment of your physique. Few millimetres more in size of your delts or biceps will not make you a champion if the basic biggest muscles are not developed to their full, genetic potentials.



Up to 60 kg category
Very rare situation: the top two from the 2012 Championships in Ecuador have become the top two once again and in the same order: Seung-Hoon Lee and Kyeong-Mo Park (both of Korea). Now Park has 3 gold and 2 silver medals in his collection and Lee – 2 gold medals. Lee shows fuller muscles and if they are in a similar shape, he looks more impressive. 2012 bronze medal winner Daniel Luna (Ecuador) dropped to the 5th position while new face from India, Karanjit Singh, took the 3rd place this time. Four position for new athlete from Egypt, Ahmed Atef.

Up to 65 kg category
Successful attack of new, gifted bodybuilders, who took all top positions in the finals. Salah Edali won the second World Championships’ gold medal for Libya (after Salah Abufanas victory last year). The audience became crazy when he performed his routine, singing and clubbing like at the soccer matches. He had a big group of fans coming from Libya to these Championships. Amr Mohamed Bossily (Egypt) and Mostafa Goudarznaseri (Iran) were running a close battle, with two rounds for Goudarznaseri but Bossily earned too big advantage in the second round and grasped the silver medal.

Up to 70 kg category
The longest line-up at these Championships, with 29 athletes on the stage. Very interesting category with two experienced multi world champions: Igor Kocis (Slovakia) and Corrado Maggiore (Italy) as well as two other top world athletes: Makoto Tashiro (Japan) and Kyoung-Yun Nam (Korea). This time Nam was an unquestionable leader, winning all three rounds. This is his first Worlds medal, after 4th place in 2012. Kocis and Maggiore placed higher in the first round but lost their positions in the finals, dropping to the 5th and 6th positions respectively. On contrary, Tashiro and Alberto Abad (Spain) moved up to the 3rd and 4th places. Young student from Cairo, Mohammed Imbaby (Egypt) took the 2nd position at his first IFBB Worlds.

Up to 75 kg category
Several well-known bodybuilders and former finalists like Karol Malecki (Poland), Arafat Yaqoob (Bahrain) or Igor Losev (Russia) placed out of the finals. 2011 world champion Mohamed Osman (Egypt) and 2012 runner-up Song-Hwan Kim (Korea) advanced to the top six but met few very demanding challengers. After the Prejudging, the sensational leader was Anwar Al Balushi (Oman), from the same family like famous world champion Haji Al-Balushi, but in the finals he dropped to the 3rd place. Debuted at the Worlds, Sajad Niknampour of Iran, advanced to the 1st position, winning both final rounds, ahead of Kim.

Up to 80 kg category
Twenty athletes on the stage and unexpected changes at the top: the top two competitors from the last year: Mohamed Medany and Sheriff El-Shiwy (both of Egypt) didn’t enter the finals! The same happened to the next 2012 finalist: Masashi Suzuki (Japan). The top two places went to newcomers at this level: Babak Akbarnia (Iran) who won all rounds and Benabdellah Abdelkader (Algeria). Abdelkader performed his routine to the very popular hit in the Arab countries “C’est la vie” by the most internationally famous Algerian singer Khaled Hadj Ibrahim and it was an attractive show. Moroccan best amateur bodybuilder Omar Khaldi won the bronze medal – the only medal for Morocco at these Championships. Omar has been gradually moving up in the world bodybuilding hierarchy, taking 8th place in 2009 and 5th place in 2011.

Up to 85 kg category
Category full of great names: 2007 world champion (80 kg class) Mohamed Sabah (Bahrain), two-time runner up Mahmoud El Fadaly (Egypt); 2012 runner-up Raul Martinez (Venezuela), 2013 Asian Championships sensational overall winner Hadi Choopan (Iran). Places were changing from round to round and only the champion Hadi Choopan was stable, winning two rounds and being tied with Algerian Mohammed Djamed in the routine round. If Djamed had a sharper separation, who knows… Choopan seemed to be a bit sharper (details) at the Asian Championships in Almaty in June but his muscularity is very full, hard and complete. Djamed is a new great talent and should be even more demanding challenger next year. Sabah displayed super quality upper body muscles but his thighs need to be a bit fuller. Ramirez showed big quads but too smooth. Probably too much carbs between the semifinals and finals caused some water retention. Each of them could be a winner next time.

Up to 90 kg category
Great comeback of the great Kamal! Multi world champion Kamal Abdul Salam El Gargni (Qatar, Libya) has not been seem on the IFBB stages since 2009, when he placed 4th at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Earlier this year Kamal entered the Arnold America, when he lost to the future overall winner Emiliano dell’Uomo only, and Asian Championships in Almaty, where he won 100 kg class. Now reduced his bodyweight below 90 kg and showed perfect body quality, with his tremendous 6-pack abs and ideally shredded all muscle groups, even the lower back. Not only he returned to his top condition presented few years ago but, I think, he showed his best life condition. He won all rounds, having extremely demanding rival: three-time world champion Ahmed El Sadany (Egypt), who moved to this category from the 85 kg class. His muscle mass was outstanding but their quality (definition, details) was a bit lower and it was the main reason of his defeat to Kamal. Bronze medal to the current European champion Andriy Kukharchuk (Ukraine), who advanced from the 5th place last year to the medal zone.

Up to 100 kg category
Life time achievement of the well-known Ukrainian champion with long competitive career Oleksandr Slobodyanyuk. After 10 years on stage and 2nd places at the 2007 European Championships and 2012 Arnold America where he lost to the overall winner Stefan Havlik only, it was his lucky day in Marrakesh; however he supported his luck with his perfect body condition. He slightly lost the first round to new Iranian athlete Hassan Khosravi but then won both finals rounds. Khosravi showed very good overall body proportions and frame but needs a bit more mass. Bronze medal to the 2012 European Championships overall winner Peter Tatarka, who weighed 93 kg only, so has a big margin to develop his muscle size. 2013 World Masters overall winner Mahdi Ayari (Iran) took the 7th place but, I think, was overlooked by the judges. Maybe, one week earlier in Mongolia he showed more details but still was in a very good condition, with very hard, full and rounded muscles.

Over 100 kg category
When 14 over 100 kg giants entered the stage, it was clear that only one could be a winner: Mohamed Zakaria of Egypt. This engineer from Cairo was the only winner at this year’s Worlds who earned the perfect scores from the judges in all rounds. He deserved for it, but his career was not so straight. He began at the 2008 World Championships, immediately grasping the world title, what was the evidence of his great predispositions but lost this title a year later. Regained it in 2011 but once again lost it in 2012. His problem was a proper selection of category. He was a bit too tall for 100 kg class, where he had no space to develop big muscles and look a bit too slim. After the Worlds in Ecuador he decided to move up to the super heavyweight class and it occurred to be a brilliant decision. Weighing 109 kg in Marrakesh he looked much, much fuller (thighs, chest, back), still showing amazingly narrow waist, what created fantastic overall body proportions. One of the greatest super heavy weight champions in the recent years!
There was a very close battle for the silver medal between new talent from South Africa, Jacobus Van Der Merve, and 2011 3rd place winner Hasan Rahnamaeian (Iran). They were tied in the second round and Van Der Merve earned one-point advantage in the routine round. They placed ahead of the 2011 runner-up Andrzej Kolodziejczyk (Poland) and the current European champion Sergii Iatsiuk (Ukraine). Both have something to improve: Kolodziejczyk – muscle mass, Iatsiuk – muscle definition. And one more impressive athlete: blind bodybuilder from Argentina, Luis Gigena. Continuously improving, he took the 11th position but was awarded with a special diploma by President Santonja.

I don’t remember so exciting and close battle in the overall category in the recent years. Three top athletes received: 11-11-12 points from the judges. Judges votes were split but it is not something strange when you see on stage: Kamal El Gargni, Oleksandr Slobodyanyuk and Mohamed Zakaria. El Gargni – master of muscle quality, details and the lowest bodyfat level; Zakaria – master of the overall body proportions, fullness and separation; Slobodyanyuk – master of muscle hardness, thin skin and total package. Who will win? The detailed analysis of the scores has brought the final victory to Zakaria. It was a great moment not only for him personally but for the whole Egyptian team and fans as well.





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