Judging from the record number of participants and the sold-out attendance at the 2015 Bodybuilding Singapore Nationals at the NUS Cultural Centre over the weekend, the public are pretty serious about fitness and physique.
Around 1,700 people attended the championships, which saw 32-year-old personal trainer Sasi Zura win his third Mr Singapore title in the bodybuilding category yesterday.
Sasi had previously won the crown in 2007 and 2013.
Bodybuilding Singapore, which staged its inaugural national competition last year, extended the event to two days this time round, allowing for more categories in both the Fitness Model and traditional bodybuilding segments.
Bodybuilding chief Kevin Chiak was delighted with the number of participants - 240, up from 95 last year - and hopes to expand the event even further next year.
"It's not just the numbers that have gone up, but the quality of athletes have also gotten better," he said.
"Next year, we'll try to include more categories because more and more people are interested in the sport - especially the fitness model part of it."
Flight steward Kasbani Kasmon was crowned the overall champion in the Men's Physique category, while 27-year-old Jane Chua, also a flight attendant, won the Women's Bikini crown.
One of the evening's highlights was the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement award to 80-year-old Ching Teng Soon.
The former national bodybuilder, who was crowned Mr Asia in 1961, competed in the Masters and Open (above 85kg) category yesterday.
Though he scored lowest among five athletes in both sections, the grandfather received the loudest applause when he struck his poses on stage.
"Uncle Ching was the only one who got a standing ovation. I mean, to be able to still do this at 80 is just remarkable," Chiak said.
"We also invited his wife on stage and presented him with a cake along with the award."
This article was first published on August 24, 2015.
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