As it was expected: when Ahmad Ashkanani came to Melbourne in peak condition, he would be a favorite. He came and he won! Not only his category, up to 90 kg but also the overall title! Great success of this experienced bodybuilder with long sport career. When appeared internationally in 2010, he immediately won the Asian Championships (80 kg category). In 2011 placed 2nd at Arnold Europe (behind Gilmar de Souza) and went a bit off to the World Championships (10th place). But in the next years has never finished lower than 2nd place. Only 1st or 2nd ! Fantastic achievements. This included: 2013 Olympia Amateur Bahrain (1st place, 85 kg), 2013 Arnold Classic Europe (1st place, 85 kg), 2014 Asian Championships (2nd place, 90 kg, being tied with the winner Khalil Asadi), 2015 Olympia Amateur Spain (1st place, 90 kg), 2015 Arnold USA (2nd place, 85 kg, behind Michael Adonis). And now peak condition, bigger bodyweight (89.9 kg) and his first overall victory! Congratulations!
Other Kuwaiti stars: Redha Al Qabandi and Gerald Pangan who were successful at the latest Arnold Amateur in Columbus, didn’t come but we saw one other star who came in the last moment: Issa Al Hasani from Oman. He finished 8th at the 2016 World Championships but progressed a lot and placed 2nd in 90 kg class, just behind Ashkanani. Then Samir Troudi (Sweden) was running a tough battle against two Australian champions: Ankur Sharma and Aaron Polites. Sharma, Indian origin from Delhi, won the world title in the other organization in 2013 and then moved to the IFBB. Is considered as one of the most gifted Indian bodybuilders of the younger generation. Sharma placed ahead of Troudi in the first two rounds but slightly lost to him in the third round, anyway has kept one-point advantage. Last year winner, Polites, in 5th place this time. It was the most exciting category at this year’s Arnold Australia.
In 80 kg category, Mohammad Al Rashed (Kuwait) was fighting against seven Australian bodybuilders and won this battle. His former best achievement was 3rd place at 2015 Olympia Spain, so he has moved up in the hierarchy. Then, last year’s finalist Anthony Novak (Australia) was running a close battle against his team-mate Aleks Petkovic. They were tied in the first two round but in the last round Novak was scored higher, taking the runner-up position.
The 70 kg category was dominated by Australian bodybuilders, who finished in the following order: Torrie Browne, William Howells, Peter Anestis.
The same situation in the 100 kg category, with the top three: Nathan Williamson, Logan Robson and Christopher Chambers.
Six Australian bodybuilders participating in the super-heavyweight category competed in two final rounds only. The winner Ross Moloney, won some contests in other organizations and now moved to the IFBB. Weighing 108.9 kg, he won both rounds and placed 2nd in the overall. The heaviest bodybuilder at this show, Benson Milgate (116,7 kg) finished 2nd, after close battle against Timothy McKinnon (107.6 kg).
Pictures: by Matthias Busse