Crowd cheers as migrant workers flex their muscles at bodybuilding championship in Singapore

They received $250 and a trophy each, with $150 and $100 going to the second- and third-placed participants. Every competitor also received a medal of participation.

For Nataraja Periyasamy, 40, a shipping and logistics worker who came to Singapore in 2014 from India, the competition was a chance to learn more about nutrition and showcase his physique.

“I learn a lot about the kind of food I need to eat to ensure I am getting the most out of my workouts and the coaches here were very helpful with their advice. For me, chicken is an expensive meat to buy regularly so they recommended some vegetables as an alternative,” said Nataraja.

He wakes up as early as 5am daily for his gym workouts at Anytime Fitness in Taman Jurong, close to where he lives, before his 12- to 15-hour work shifts.

MWC executive director Bernard Menon said the objective of the event was to give migrant workers who have been “starved of social and sporting pursuits” an opportunity to “participate in something purposeful”.

There are plans to make the championship an annual affair and set up a fully equipped gym at the recreation centre.

Menon said: “With Covid-19 and the restrictions that were in place, a lot of the workers have had emotional and mental stress. Events like this are a way to distract workers and give them a purpose. We want them to know you can have a rewarding time in Singapore and at the same time have a healthy lifestyle.”


Business Asia
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