Rumbling noise, sweat jackets, huge bodies, body fit t-shirts …. Now, you may wonder what I am trying to say….
Team Masters was present at the “bodybuilding headquarters” of Chennai, ICF, on March 7 to attend Mr. Chennai 2009.
The occasion was special as some of our very close friends were competing in 55 kg, 65 kg and 75 kg categories. Of course, there were several good friends, including national players, competing in various other categories as well.
During the show, we caught up with Federation Cup champions K. Gopinath and N. Perumal Durai. Both of them had set their eyes on the State championship scheduled for March 23. The State meet assumes great value because the team from Tamil Nadu would be selected for senior Mr. India based on the performance in that contest. The Nationals has been scheduled to be held in Kolkata in the first week of April.
The ICF event was no city meet but a warm-up for all National and State champions. Each weight category was dominated by at least a couple of National-level athletes, who danced circles around non-medalists. The ‘kids’ had absolutely no chance to take home anything as they had to rub shoulders with veterans (well almost).
In short, freakishness in size, hardness and conditioning ruled the posing dais.
55kg category belonged to wunderkind Hari Babu, who had awesome lines and great proportion. He had made very good improvements in terms of quality and conditioning. But, it was clear that he had sacrificed size for conditioning. He admitted this to Team Masters and said that his mentor Vinod wanted him to enter the featherweight class from now on. He’s in for a big fight at the Mr. India.
Senguttuvan Vs. Ponmudi
60 kg category was the toughest of all. It had freaky E. Ponmudi and beautiful N. Senguttuvan fighting for the title, once again. Though no one could point out at flaws in Senguttuvan’s package, Ponmudi dwarfed him, thanks to his size and awesome fullness.
Team Masters told Senguttuvan backstage that Ponmudi looked as if he weighed over 70 kg and would win hands down. Senguttuvan displayed good sportsmanship and reconciled to the fact that he did not stand a chance.
Usually, experts call this kind of battle ‘apples vs. oranges.’ But, here it was ‘apples vs. watermelons!’
King of 65 kg class
Our very own ‘Kevin Levrone,’ Kodanda Raman, was the king of 65 kg category. The young man looks literally like a Greek statue! It was sheer delight to watch him onstage.
Federation Cup champions
70 kg category belonged to N. Perumal Durai and 75 kg category, to Gopi.
Durai was not as dry as he was last November but much better than the Junior Nationals at Guntur. Gopi had a combination of excellent X frame and size. But, he was too big, full and watery for the evening finals. He looked more like 85 kg material! He was head and shoulders above the rest and he knew it pretty well. After all these years, he has finally arrived and is truly National material now.
Lakshmi Kumar, who competed in 75 kg category, had made significant improvements in his physique. He was much better a competitor than what he was at the 2008 November Mr. Tamil Nadu. Though Team Masters expected him to place fifth, he ended up one spot lower.
At the end of 75 kg final show, the crowd suddenly roared as if a superstar had stepped onstage. Indeed, the country’s best poser, ‘Mr. India’ Mohammed Abdullah, had arrived and he brought down the house with his guest posing. Yeah, it was robot posing and the viewers just couldn’t believe his muscle control and thickness. Abdullah posed for around 7 minutes! First it was his custom made music followed by the good old “Made in India.”
The evening ended with customary handshakes and the usual share of happiness and disappointments.
Team Masters will see all these freaks flex their muscles once again at the Mr. Tamil Nadu in Tiruvallur in a couple of weeks.
Food for thought
Backstage, members of Team Masters told a couple of National players that they should not enter smaller meets like the city or even State because they deny non-medalists a chance to win a medal.
Some of these champions said that they were forced to compete in smaller meets to get selection for State and National competitions. If authorities concerned did something to have a separate selection for regular National players and those who had won State titles more than a few times, they won’t be tempted to enter smaller meets.
Team Masters feels that this alone would actually give non-medalists a chance to win medals at smaller competitions. However, the selection for bigger meets like Mr. India be made tougher so that newcomers, unless they are fantastic, do not get selection.
_ Murali Vijaykumar