KUALA LUMPUR - It turned out to be a memorable affair for Malaysian bodybuilders at the World Bodybuilding and Physique Championships in Budaors, Hungary on Friday.
Sazali Samad, 49, claimed his ninth Mr Universe title as Malaysia won two other titles in the annual event.
His age did not appear to deter him from successfully flexing his muscles for the lightweight (70kg) category gold medal.
Sazali led the way through pre-judging and maintained his form in the final to notch a historic triumph for Malaysia.
The Batu Pahat-born sub-inspector clinched his first Mr Universe title in the 65kg category (bantamweight) in Malacca in 2000, followed by wins in Moscow (2004) and Ostrava, Czech Republic (2006).
Sazali later shifted to the lightweight (70kg) category and won it on his first attempt in Jeju, South Korea (2007) before notching wins in Dubai (2009), Varanasi, India (2010), Malacca (2011) and Bangkok (2012).
Sazali, an eight-time Mr Asia champion, was close to tears after the judges awarded him the title.
"It is satisfying after having failed to retain my Mr Asia title in August," said Sazali in Hungary yesterday.
"I spent hours in the gym prior to this event. Age is not on my side and it is getting tougher in training.
"This is why I am delighted to become the champion again especially as I was up against younger competitors. Hopefully, I can bring home a gold medal in next month's Myanmar Sea Games."
Sazali is the last Malaysian Sea Games gold medallist in bodybuilding, achieved in Vietnam, a decade ago.
The sport was hosted in Korat in 2007 but the Sazali did not compete and only went there as a trainer.
Compatriot Buda Anchah, 40, also recorded a win in the Masters Open category in Hungary.
A six-time Mr Malaysia winner, Buda recorded his best ever result in the world meet and the triumph will boost his chances of a medal in the Sea Games.
Youngster Roszaimi Abdul Rani made a memorable debut with a third gold for Malaysia in the Junior Open category.
The Kuantan-born also claimed bronze in the below-60kg category in only his second international outing.
Roszaimi, 20, who is bound for the Sea Games, was a silver medallist in the Asian Championships in Ho Chi Minh City in August this year.