Afghanistan, body building, Mohammad Harun, Ghayor Waziri

More than 20 Afghan athletes join Mr Afghanistan body building competition.

And 30-year-old Mohammad Harun is announced as the champion this year.

“When I was on stage and my name was announced as the winner of Mr Afghanistan 2013, I feel very happy,” he says.

“I’ve dreamt of this title since I was a child. I don’t want to stop here. I wish to win and bring more awards from international competition for my country.”

Mohammad Harun has been working out his muscles for the last 10 years. Every morning he comes to a local sport club and exercises for one hour.

“I watch Hollywood movies and I like Arnold Schwarzenegger,” says Muhammad Harun who has participated in more than 30 national and international competition and won most of them.

“Each day, I got interested with bodybuilding. Once I started to exercise, I decided to practice really hard – unlike other athletes who don’t practice hard. In 2011 and 2012, I won the second prize from the South Asian countries bodybuilding competition.”

Under the Taliban, sports was not for everyone.

Women were strictly forbidden to participate and men were permitted to compete only if they were dressed properly.

“From my experience under the Taliban, we have to wear long pants and we couldn’t show our body only with a short,” recalls Mansoor Bahadori, a bodybuilding veteran. “Every time people came to watch, they laughed on us.”

There are over 200 bodybuilding clubs in Kabul and 32-year-old Nisar Ahmad is one of the owners.

He says there’s an increase of students enrolling now compared to under the Taliban time.

“First, there’s an increase on population. Second, there’s a growth in public economy. And the last one, we have more freedom and new equipments to practice bodybuilding with. Some of the students exercise for their body fitness, some for health but only a few come here to become a professional. And this year, we also have some female students exercising in our club.”

23-year-old university student Said Husain started to work out recently.

“Since I was a child, I was always interested to become an athlete. That’s why I practice body building. I want to have a fit body, get powerful and look good. After two weeks, I already feel some changes in my body. I think my ability has increased.”

Bodybuilding has become Afghanistan’s most popular sport behind soccer... with powerful achievements too.

This year, Afghanistan’s national bodybuilding team won six gold medals in the Asian Bodybuilding Championship.

Afghanistan body building federation is now encouraging young people to go to the gym, says its chief Mansoor Bahadori.

“Bodybuilding has a lot of benefits. They can stay out of trouble, they will be healthy,” he says.

And he adds the most important aspect of doing bodybuilding.

“Athletes will always look good... and he will get a nice girlfriend too! Even when he’s wearing a shirt, he will impress the girls.”

“We had this sport from a long time a go but recently there are more people enthusiastic with it.”



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