Haji Abdulsalam Rekani, a bodybuilder from Duhok, beat eight other competitors and came first in the 85 kg weight category of the 54th edition of the Asian Championship in Beirut this month.
His victory made people in his hometown Duhok happy. Thousands of the city’s residents congratulated him, including the governor.
Haji Rekani has been a bodybuilder for 13 years and won several medals in Iraq and other countries. He always gives the medals he wins to the Kurdish Peshmerga and their families.
He gave the gold medal he won in Beirut, his biggest win to date, to the orphaned son of a martyred Peshmerga.
In the preceding 53rd championship, Rekani came in third place. He gave that medal to a Peshmerga from Shiladiz who was injured in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).
The bodybuilder plans to compete in the World Body Building Championship. He told Kurdistan 24 that he plans to give his next medal to President Masoud Barzani.
Like all bodybuilders, he usually starts his extreme diet eight months to one year before a tournament, which is very challenging physically and requires a strong will.
Haji Rekani had to first make his way into Iraqi bodybuilding competitions to prove he was one of the fittest, which enabled him to compete in the Asian Championship.
The 54th Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports tournament took place in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Nov. 11-14.
A total of 211 players from seven countries participated and competed in over 39 bodybuilding-related challenges. Dozens of these players came from Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.