By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO
While most people count their calories each day to ensure a svelte figure, there are a group of athletes who believe more is, well more. They call themselves â€œstrongmenâ€ and they recently descended on the tiny municipality of Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, to participate in the WSF World Strongman Championship. Twenty-five contenders came from all over the world including the United States, the United Kingdom and Poland to name only a few.
The massive giants spend years cultivating their bodies to be as strong as possible. In a recent interview American contender Kevin Nee shed some light on his daily caloric intake, â€œI try to eat 7,000-10,000 calories a day. I eat whatever I want as long as Iâ€™m training hard but generally I eat healthy and I focus on protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes.â€ Other contenders have similar diets. However, the strongmen are not flabby but rather are stacked with solid muscle. As any strongman will tell you, they train year round for several hours per day.
In this yearâ€™s competition the strongmen faced off in a host of strength contests that put not only their bodies to the test but also their sheer will to compete. Spread out over the course of three days, some of the contests included pulling a bus, carrying a 350 kg yoke on their necks and lifting a 130 kg axle over their heads. The competition was fierce and soon whittled down to just 8 strongmen left standing to compete in the finals.
But it was Polandâ€™s Krysztof Radzikowski who lifted, pulled and strained every muscle to victory to be crowned the 2012 Worldâ€™s Strongest Man. Radzikowski was also awarded a cash prize of $6,000 for his efforts. Briton Laurence Shahlaei came in second and won $4,000 while American Josh Thigpen came in third place and was awarded $3,000.
Abu Dhabi residents were treated to a sporting event the likes of which is rarely seen in the region. However, the athletes were warmly embraced and the event was a resounding success. Event organizers are already planning future events in Abu Dhabi soon.