I take pride in writing about our good friend Dayaalan of Classic Fitness who has been organising bodybuilding competitions every year for over 12 years now in connection with the anniversary of his gym. Dayaalan conducted a contest between the districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchi on the occasion of his gym anniversary for the 13th time on March 2, 2014. The contest had two separate categories for Masters champions too – the 40 years class and over 50 years class. As many as 24 competitors participated in the 40 years division and about 10 in the 50 years division.
As regards the regular weight classes, there was a talk among competitors that the show might not be that impressive and not many would be in top form. However, it was stunning to see that there were over 180 competitors and more than 80 per cent of them were ripped and ready to rock! The surprising part was that many of these impressive competitors were new and not those I was used to seeing regularly. There were some regulars in the line-up in several classes and most of them finished in Top 3.
Here is a brief note on some of those champions who looked very impressive.
Complete and classic physique
Ramamurthy of Chennai, who has already won State championship and represented Tamil Nadu in National events, entered the 55 kg category. Though he was looking complete, pleasing and had round and full muscles, Ramamurthy needed another 4 weeks to get to his best form. A couple of other champions who were ripped and drier looked as if they would give him a close fight for the first place. However, Ramamurthy’s structure, fullness and beautiful shape helped him win.
Ranjith representing Chennai was the star of the 60 kg class. He placed second in Mr. Chennai held on January 26, but was much improved at this contest. His muscularity, conditioning and natural skin colour made him look like he was cut out of rock. He was the clear winner from the word ‘Go.’
One of the most classic physiques of the State belongs to my good friend Sriram of Kanchi, who competed in this category. At his 100 per cent best, there are only a few national players in our State who can beat Sriram. At this particular event, Sriram had not yet fully dialed in. Even as we chatted behind the stage, I gave him my assessment of his performance and he explained all constraints under which he got ready for this contest. As a contest-prep coach and still a competitor myself, I couldn’t help appreciating Sriram for what he had done under so much pressure. It was really an amazing job, and he placed fourth.
I was pleasantly surprised to see former Mr. Tamil Nadu A.J. Nijam take the stage in the 65-kg category and win gold, after a break of few years. He was so stunning that I couldn’t believe it was the same champion who won the State title four years ago. Nijam is now serious stuff and can make a mark in Mr. South India and Nationals.
Star of the show
My friend Munusamy dominated the 70 kg class and the entire contest. The moment competitors of this class were assembled on the stage, Muni was the cynosure of all eyes. Often criticised for winning contests even at his 90 per cent form, Muni perhaps had decided to silence everybody. I could see that he was much more ripped, harder and drier than what he looked while winning overall in Mr. Tamil Nadu held a couple of months ago in Pallikaranai, Chennai. Muni was also full and his skin was extremely thin, making his muscles look like they were about to tear open the skin and burst out.
Gopi, representing Chennai, flexed his mighty muscles in 75 kg category. After a stunning overall victory at the Mr. Chennai on Januray 26, he was considered a favourite to take home the overall title at this event too. However, Gopi was not in that jaw-dropping condition we had seen earlier. I guess he had taken a conscious decision of trying not to push himself too hard for this contest but give his best for the All India Inter-University Best Physique Contest scheduled to be held in Coimbatore on March 6 and 7. Kandan, who is a rugged and strong competitor, stood next to Gopi and challenged his claim to the title. To quote Kandan’s own words, he got ready at short notice, and hence, was not in the best shape. In my book, Kandan was almost near his best form, and it was a job well done. He finished second behind Gopi.
In the 80 kg class, I saw some competitors from Kanchi whom I had never seen before. Shankar, who won the title, was riped, dry, hard and strongly built. His legs were well-separated and vascular. Only a few points separated him and the challenger. Manimaran was a tough opponent to Shankar, but fell a tad short in the conditioning department.
The rest of the top five were equally big, full and ripped. The points between many of them were only a few, and that too in the conditioning or muscularity departments.
Mahendran Gopi who won in the 85+ category was as impressive as he was in the city contest held in January. He beat a veteran champion like Balaguru and won this class.
Kanniappan, who has won Mr. Tamil Nadu and medal in Masters Mr. India, won the title in 40+ age division. Rajendran, who won Masters Mr. Chennai on January 26, finished a close second behind him.
Babu Rajendran, a man who defies age, was first in the 50+ age division. His commitment to staying fit, healthy and in good shape for a lifetime deserves lot of respect. The stories he tells on the earlier days of bodybuilding in Tamil Nadu will be of great interest to many.
What is war without blood and contest without controversy, huh?
The class winners were brought to the stage amid thunderous applause. The crowd went crazy as the musclemen flexed bringing every muscle group to life. Even as the judges narrowed down to three competitors for the final decision, the excitement among audience grew. The competitors flexed harder and harder bringing out every single vein on their body stand out like garden hose. The judges’ vote went to Munusamy and I personally felt it was a right decision. Muni was harder, drier, fuller and almost in his all-time best shape.
Dayaalan’s contests generally offer plenty of prizes to participants and as expected all competitors at this event were showered with gifts such as LCD TV sets, ironboxes, sweets, T-shirts, supplement boxes and many others. Dayaalan has earned a place for himself in the history of Tamil Nadu bodybuilding by organising competitions ever year for so many years straight and encouraging bodybuilders. His effort at promoting the sport of bodybuilding should be respected by every single person who dons the tanning cream in our State.
- C. Lakshmi Kumar