Strongmen test their mettle at Dubai competition

Hundreds of spectators turned up to the Sun and Sand Sports Fitness Fest at the Skydive Dubai in Dubai Marina to watch the 10 competitors heave massive weights around with the hope of being named the Strongest Man in the World.

Alex Moonen of The Netherlands competes in  the Strongman Champions League Finals at SkyDive Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National
Powered by automated translation

DUBAI // Whether they were dragging a lorry along a track or lifting a boulder above their heads, it was all in a day’s work for the real-life supermen competing in the Strongmen Champions League World Series final on Saturday.

Hundreds of spectators turned up to the Sun and Sand Sports Fitness Fest at the Skydive Dubai in Dubai Marina to watch the 10 competitors heave massive weights around with the hope of being named the Strongest Man in the World.

The challenges included dead-lifting a 450kg car on a trailer from the floor 12 times, carrying rocks weighing up 130kg or running a course while hoisting a 100kg sandbag.

“We started with 100 athletes for 16 stages all over the world and we finished with the top 10 who fought the whole year - and we are here in Dubai for the final stage,” said Marcel Mostert, director and presenter of the competition.

Among the competitors was Martin Wildaver from Austria. He was impressed by the scenic setting and the enthusiastic support from onlookers but he said the climate added to the challenge.

“It was hot for our bodies so we sweat a lot, which made us get tired and made it hard to compete in this weather,” the 28-year-old said.

Thankfully, the challenges only required short bursts of energy.

“Each [challenge] was one minute, but we had to prepare ourselves for each one and there were breaks between competitions which made our bodies calm down and then warm up again and that was really hard for our bodies,” he said.

As well as the strongman competition, there were also of plenty of other activities to get involved with, including obstacle courses, belly dancing classes, a climbing wall and a running track.

“The two-day festival’s idea was that we wanted to create an awareness about fitness in the community. It is aimed at everybody who wants to get fit,” said Chloe Winstanley, marketing manager and organiser of the event.

“Also, for people who do not have to be athletes or go to the gym, they just come down to the festival, learn about all activities as cycling, football and samba and find out how to live a healthy lifestyle and learn how to look after themselves properly.”

Asif Shaikh, 30, an Indian, attended on the last day of the festival to try out some activities.

“I am into fitness and I came to get all information I need about CrossFit as lessons and locations that I was not able to get from other places in Dubai,” said Mr Shaikh, a project manager.

“The festival was very cool, it had many activities and every thing at one place with a lot of fitness options.”

Zaher Moukhal, 30, a professional bodybuilder from Lebanon, said he was inspired by the strongman competition.

“The organisation and various activities were amazing,” he said. “It is fabulous to have professional athletes here in Dubai.”

The winner of the strongman competition was Dainis Zageris from Latvia.

roueiti@thenational.ae