‘Mighty Mike’has constructed his profession on determination, discipline and sacrifice.(Photos by Nurul Shafina Jemenon and thanks to Mohd Syarul Azman Mike Mahen Abdullah)
MOHD Syarul Azman ‘Mighty Mike’ Mahen Abdullah stands alone. The months of gruelling training and diet plan have actually resulted in this minute. Stepping out onto the lit stage, he right away turns sideways and bends, his huge biceps swelling like inner tubes. Thousands react with applause, providing him a sense of accomplishment.He smiles extensively as he looks down at his body, then back up, making eye contact with judges. They looking at his dark, glistening oiled skin, checking the size, balance and definition of his muscles. He feels his veins bulge and spider-web across his chest. As the regular ends, he spreads his arms open and looks up.And history is produced the 2nd time round on October 2017. In blistering cold Ulanbaatar, Malaysia’s nationwide anthem is played. It’s a foreign tune to the huge bulk however a familiar one that brings tears to Mahen’s eyes as he’s crowned champ when again at the World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship where more than 400 bodybuilders from 134 countries have actually come to complete. Clutching the Jalur Gemilang draped on his shoulders, he wills himself not to cry.This was not a lifelong dream for Mahen, a 45-year-old workplace administrator from Kuala Lumpur.
His path began some 19 years back.”I think you can say my success was built on broken dreams,”says Mahen wryly.
Seated extreme left, Mahen’s puppy love was football. Seen here at the Razak Cup playoffs in 1998.
Mahen is a not likely bodybuilding champ. He puts his positive, steely frame of mind down to a youth spent playing football. “I love football,” he states including: “I have actually always been passionate about the game.” A practiced sportsperson back in school, he confides that he attempted his hand in every sport. “I did everything! From marathons to sepak takraw to football!”
However football stayed his first love. “When I was in Kind 1, I began playing football seriously and got selected to represent the Under-15. Eventually I was selected for the KL group.” His football profession was on the increase, and became a way out of a common life for him and household. “We weren’t abundant,” exposes Mahen.His father
passed away when he was Ten Years old, and his mother solitarily raised her 4 children on her medical facility cook’s income. Mahen proved to be more than a handful for the having a hard time mom. “I was incredibly naughty,” he confesses with a rueful grin.At her wits end, his mom positioned him in an orphanage for a few years. “I lived at a house for orphans and underprivileged kids run by the Pure Life Society,” he states. The discipline tempered him down. “They were difficult and it was great for me.”
He regales me with stories of his life at the orphanage where he learnt how to be independent– discovering how to do his own laundry, and needing to clean drains pipes, toilets and dormitories whenever he was penalized. “They rotan-ed me when I was naughty!” he remembers with a grin.Eventually he returned house after a stint at the orphanage.”Did you change? “I ask strangely enough.” I altered a lot!” he responds with a hearty laugh, but he rapidly turns major, adding gently: “I was glad to be house with my family.” Life wasn’t simple but with a fledgling football career on the method, Mahen soldiered on.
“I worked as a gas pump attendant when I was in Kind 4,” he includes, informing me that he spent his time managing in between school, football and working part-time to supplement the family income. “Cash was constantly tight. Some days, I ‘d endure on one roti canai a day and pipe water,” he says openly. Still, he showed to be remarkably talented in football, and an appealing career beckoned when he was chosen for the Kuala Lumpur team.
Overcome by emotions after winning his very first gold medal at the 8th WBPF World Bodybuilding and Body Sports Championships in Pattaya, Thailand in 2016
Then injury struck. And Mahen was devastated. “I tore my ACL,” he states with a sigh. ACL or the anterior cruciate ligament is among the essential ligaments that assist stabilise the knee joint, connecting the thighbone to the shinbone. For footballers, navigating their method back from a leg break, a cruciate tear or some such other nightmare can show to be the death knell to their careers.
“I wasn’t prepared to hang up my boots,” he confesses. His devastating injury landed Mahen in the City Council’s public gym (“It was my very first time in a fitness center!”), to assist strengthen his quads and hamstrings so he could play football again. The identified Liverpool fan went back to play football, however the very same injury struck for the 2nd time. And easily, his football profession was over.
“It was a dark phase for me,” he recalls, adding that it was a friend who motivated him to pump iron, “… so we might a minimum of look macho!” In the days prior to his body developed an identity of its own, Mahen had no idea what hid inside him.He exercised carefully on his own and discovered his body slowly bulking up. “When I initially started bodybuilding, individuals would make fun of me. I was so thin at that time,” he recalls, adding he had very little understanding about the sport till he was found while serving part-time in the Authorities Volunteer Force.
“It was a childhood aspiration of mine to become a cop!” he exclaims with a smile, including that he signed up with the force after leaving school. While exercising at the gym in the KL authorities head office, he met previous world bodybuilding champions Othman Yahya and Sazali Samad who, along with other associates, prompted him to give bodybuilding a go. “‘You look excellent,’ they stated, ‘… however you need conditioning and appropriate training.'”
The discipline, he soon discovered, was all-inclusive. “I’m a typical Indian guy with a hankering for rice and curry. They put me on a diet consisting of plain rice, a smidgen of sambal belacan, salad and grilled chicken. It was tough to swallow that!”
Quickly, he could feel his body awakening, a machine whirring to life. He knew some ¬ thing major was taking place so he continued with the strenuous diet routine. As he took up bodybuilding seriously, Mahen remembers bringing his own meals for wedding suppers, losing friends who couldn’t understand his brand-new fixation, spending unlimited hours at the fitness center and mulling seriously over nutri-tion. “It can be a lonesome pursuit,” he confesses, including: “Even my mother was aghast at the discipline I subjected myself to.”
He couldn’t think just how much he altered. In time, the one-time KL football player discovered the art of the sport, seeing his body as a dynamic organism that might be shaped with the assistance of training, diet and health supplements.Eventually, his decision and discipline would bring numerous successes:”I eventually won the National Bodybuilding Champion 5 times, and Champ of the Champs, twice!’He was then encouraged to go expert and focus on international competitions.< img typeof=foaf: Image src= https://assets.nst.com.my/images/articles/mahen0104c.jpeg_1522540812.jpg alt > Devoting his First gold medal to his cherished mother.He has not looked back since. Marking his world meet launching with a silver in 2010, the father
of three claimed 3 successive bronze medals in 2012. In 2015, Mahen won the Asian title for the very first time in Uzbekistan before taking another silver at the world fulfill. In 2016, he took the gold medal for the World Bodybuilding and Body Sports Champion and duplicated his winning streak the following year in Mongolia. 2017 also saw a hattrick of wins which included his 3rd Asian Champions title in Seoul and a win at the Hangzhou Invitational in China.Still, bodybuilding stays a cult sport and not one that’s identified by a lot of sporting bodies, especially in Malaysia. Maybe the greatest mistaken belief is that bodybuilders aren’t professional athletes and that they’re not even taking part in a sport.” Weight-training and diet strategies discovered in bodybuilding is the foundation of many professional sports,”asserts Mahen.The fact of the matter however is that the real competitors happens behind the scenes during the off-season. Body ¬ home builders put their body and minds to the
test, lifting, consuming and sculpting, while the stage is to showcase the result of their effort. Determining caloric intake and dedi ¬ cating time to form their bodies can be a complicated, strenuous and typically thankless process.”It’s a mix of science and mathematics,”he says.Furthermore it’s not an easy sport to obtain financing. Mahen explains that the excessive expense of most of his preparations winds up coming from his own pocket, which includes his dietary needs, training as well as travelling for competitors, although he does get to use the facilities at the National Sports Council and is provided medical aid by the National Sports Institute.He likewise trains himself, including candidly that he can’t manage a coach.” You do not get the kind of extensive assistance that’s available for other more popular sports like football or badminton,” he says. “It’s easy to neglect a sport that’s not featured in significant sports competitions such as the SEA video games and the Olympics.”The obscurity of his sport was made apparent at the National Sports Gala kept in March recently where he was one of the candidates for the National Sportsman of the Year award.His name was unintentionally missed out during the Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s speech while there was no life-sized reproduction of him unlike other nominees for the exact same award displayed outside the banquet hall at Hilton KL. The snub does sting, he confesses, albeit reluctantly but he’s identified
to plough on. “I have actually come this far,”he mentions, shrugging his shoulders.He has actually certainly come far. Now he is a strolling muscle chart, as if raised from the wall of a biology class. When he bends, he expands like a rippled blowfish. His shoul ¬ ders are broad knots of deltoids and trapeziuses. His back is a relief map of impenetrable terrain.But underneath all that is a sense of discipline, sacrifice and stability he credits to his mom.”I devoted my first World Championship gold medal to her. She’s my whatever,”he says quietly prior to concluding with a smile:”I’ve striven for this and will continue to do so for my next competition in October.
I will keep the flag flying high for as long as I can.”