Hasani bags silver at Arnold Classic

(MENAFN- Muscat Daily)

Oman's Issa al Hasani did the sultanate proud when he won a silver medal at the 2016 Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition that was held at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre in Australia last week.

Organised by the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFFB) the Arnold Classic Worldwide brings together the world's best bodybuilders in a series of events that began in Columbus US earlier this month.

The Australian event was the second of the six-leg series and the 36 year old Hasani came up with a podium finish in the up to 90kg category.

Ashkanani gets gold

Experienced Kuwaiti bodybuilder Ahmad Ashkanani won the gold and was also declared the overall champion.

Hasani was among the 18 to make it to the final round and claimed a silver ahead of Australian champion Ankur Sharma.

Hasani had earlier won a gold and a silver medal the World Bodybuilding & Physique Federation (WBPF) Grand Prix in Hungary in 2013 but rated the latest achievement 'the most memorable'.

In his remarks to Muscat Daily on his return from Melbourne Hasani said 'It was a very tough competition with the best in the business out there. The Arnold Classic attracted a total of 200 bodybuilders across various categories.

'I was in a tough field that had some big names like Kuwait's Ashkanani. But I managed to pull off a good show to edge past a local hero for a silver' said the Omani who runs a private gym in Mabella.

Hasani said 'I was nominated by the Oman Bodybuilding Committee (OBC) for the Arnold Classic. My preparations got a boost when Kuwait's Wawan Protein backed me and took me under their wings.

'They had sent me to the US for a three-week training stint in Phoenix under one of the leading coaches Dennis James. My training stint in the US laid the foundation as we travelled to Australia nearly two weeks in advance for the competition.'

James is a renowned coach having had a remarkable career that had him compete in seven Mr Olympia events with his best result a fourth-place finish in 2003.

Issa al Hasani (left) is received by Abdullah al Jabri a member of the Oman Bodybuilding Committee at Muscat International Airport

Hasani said 'I am very happy that I could represent Oman at one of the world's top championships and win a silver medal. It has given me a big boost as I chase more medals at international events.

'My dream is to compete with professional champions and I know I can achieve it in the next few years.'

James' contribution

Hasani expressed his gratitude towards OBC chief Said al Amri for having faith in his abilities and he also praised coach James' role. 'When you have a world-class coach he not only trains you on the demonstration and other skills but also pushes up your confidence. Having been part of many top-class competitions himself James made me feel relaxed ahead of my performance that finally helped me' he said.

At the event Ashkanani was way ahead of Hasani in the semifinal and also in the first round of the final scoring three and six points. Hasani had eight and 16 in those rounds but ran close in the final round with just a point separating them. The Kuwaiti eventually won by a handsome margin of 11 points.

However Hasani's total score of 21 was eight points better than that of Sharma an Australian of Indian origin who had won the world title in another organisation in 2013 before moving to the IFBB.

Schwarzenegger's visit

The Arnold Classic series in Melbourne had the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger deliver a seminar while IFBB president Rafael Santonja was there to congratulate and award the winners.

Nine countries entered their competitors for these championships. Beside Australia Oman and Kuwait the other teams were from Qatar Tahiti Costa Rica Egypt Hong Kong and Sweden.

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