Bodybuilding coach hoping for top 10 finish at Worlds

Samoa bodybuilding coach Magele Johannas Keil is glad to be taking two athletes to the World Bodybuilding Championship in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates next week.

The last and only time a Samoan competed at the Worlds was two years ago.

“But he was New Zealand based, not local based, said Magele.

The coach and his bodybuilders John Lemoa and Arona Mataia leave on Tuesday for the tournament which runs from the 8th to the 10th of November.

Mataia splits his time between Samoa and New Zealand, but current Mr Samoa Lemoa has been working with Magele day in, day out.

The coach said this is the culmination of a three-year plan:

“The Worlds was always the target, now we’ve hit it.

“We’re planning to go in with more conditioning.

“They’re big boys, but we wanna go in there really shredded, really good physique.”

Magele said he is hoping for a top 10 finish in Fujairah.

“There’s 190 countries that are in I.F.B.B. (the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness),” he said.

“John will probably go up against 70 or 80 guys on the stage.

“If we can crack the top 10 that’d be amazing, if we can get top five? That’s wow.”

Magele said bodybuilding remains a minority sport in Samoa, but they are producing results.

In October alone, Samoa’s team took eight titles at the New Zealand Championship, on top of Mataia and Lemoa’s results at the South Pacific Oceania Championship; Mataia won the Men’s Physique category while Lemoa won the Open Men’s Bodybuilding Over 90kgs category and the title of “Overall Winner”.

“The medals are piling up,” Magele said.

“We’ve done that for the last three years, so hopefully sponsorships will start coming in.”

The coach gave weightlifting as an example of a sport which is only now getting the financial support it deserves:

“For the last 10 years, [Samoa weightlifting coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork]’s been producing good results.

“A lot of the foundation principles that Jerry’s doing over there with their training also ties in with ours.”

Magele said they rely on sponsors to get to events like the World Championships.

“The international federation, because we’re coming from so far, they’re waiving the fees that we have to pay, and they’re paying for our accommodation.”

The tournament will be a first for Magele too; he is acting as a competition judge for the first time at Worlds.

And in his role as president of the Body Building Federation of Samoa, he will be attending the concurrent I.F.B.B. International Congress.

“There’s a real shakeup going on with the I.F.B.B. worldwide,” Magele said

“I’m hoping there’s some kind of funding to help out.

“Not just to take us to events, but to promote the sport. We can do more workshops, school activities; if there’s funding.

“At the moment with no funding, I just focus on my team and try get them to compete at a different level.”

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