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Hyderabad bodybuilder to lead India

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad | November 21, 2008 20:15 IST

Hyderabad bodybuilder Mir Mohtesham Ali Khan, winner of several titles in the country, will lead a 14-member team at the World Bodybuilding Championships in Las Vegas [Images], beginning on Friday.

Khan will participate in the 90 kg-plus heavyweight category.

Before leaving for the US, Mohtashem told reporters in Hyderabad that he is going with hope and confidence.

"The record of Indian contestants at the international bodybuilding contests has not been too impressive in the past. I hope to improve it and bring laurels to our country," he said.

Premchand Degra is the only Indian to win the Mr Universe title, in 1988. Manohar Aitch and Mantosh Roy also won other world titles, but Indians have drawn a blank in the last two decades.

The 30-year-old Mohtesham said he will try his best to put an end to the drought.

Mohtesham, who exercises four-and-a-half hours a day, rued that bodybuilding does not get as much encouragement and patronage in India as in other countries.

"It is a good sport, which encourages youth to stay healthy and fit. It should be encouraged," he said.

The 6'2" Mohtesham's daily diet, which includes 1 kg chicken, 30 boiled eggs, 12 oranges and other fruits, 250 gms oatmeal and vitamin powder, costs Rs 1,200.

He said he is strongly averse to the use of steroids and never used them.

The first bodybuilder from Andhra Pradesh to be named captain of Indian team by the Indian Bodybuilding Federation, Mohtesham is employed with Indian Railways but bears his own expenses, which amount to around Rs 300,000, to participate in the prestigious events.

"Nobody offered any sponsorship. Only the Hyderabad district collector has extended help by bearing the ticket expenses to and from the US," he said.

The long list of Mohtesham's achievements includes a bronze medal at the Mr India competition. He is also thrice winner of the Mr South India title, an eight-time winner of the Mr South-Central Railway crown, nine-time winner of Mr AP and eight-time winner of Mr Hyderabad.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger [Images] is my role model and I am happy that I will be competing in his home state, California. I am looking forward to meeting him there," he said.

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