Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) kicked off the qualifying phase for the highly anticipated Qatar’s Strongest Man competition (QSM) 2017, taking place from 24-25 November in Aspire Park.
Now in its fifth year, the first round of tests began with a series of rigorous health and physical assessments for this year’s Qatari and expat sports enthusiasts keen to demonstrate their power and speed in the hope of being selected to qualify for this year’s ultimate strongman competition.
Only the strongest and fastest entrants who successfully complete the physical assessments, which comprise of challenging tasks including 200-kg-weight lifts and a 20-metre walk while carrying 120kg in each arm, will be chosen to compete in this year’s competition.
Last year’s defending champions in the Qatari and expat categories, Qatari Fahad al-Haddad and Kenyan giant Christopher Oketch, were seen among the entrants being assessed on the first day of the testing round.
Speaking on the sidelines of the testing event, 41-year-old defending champion Fahad al-Haddad praised Aspire Zone’s logistical capabilities, saying their commitment to organise a great tournament encourages him to return each year.
He added: “For me, sport is more to do with mental state rather than physical attributes that could be slowed by age, so I will keep returning to defend the title as long as I am fit and capable and in the competing frame of mind. For youngsters wanting to get into bodybuilding or strength training I encourage them to participate in the competition.”
Meanwhile, Christopher Oketch, spoke about his preparations for this year’s tournament, saying: “I exercise four days a week, follow a consistent workout plan and consume a high-calorie diet. I expect this year’s competition to be more challenging, so I’ve been preparing for over sixth months to gain more muscle.”
There were a few new faces among the entrants who showed remarkable potential, including Qatari participant Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, who signed up for the first time in the QSM competition.
When asked about his participation, al-Kuwari said: “I’ve been hearing about this competition for a while. My coach, who’s been taking part in the competition for the past three years, encouraged me to participate, saying how fun and thrilling it is to compete against such strong contestants It’s a great event and helps promote the sport itself and Qatar as sporting nation.”