IFFB President Santonja shows importance of bodybuilding at Opening Ce…

President Rafael Santonja claimed his sport "brought people together" at the World Championships Opening Ceremony ©IFBB

International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federation (IFBB) President Rafael Santonja claimed his sport 2brought people together” at the Opening Ceremony of the Men’s World Championships here tonight. 

Santonja made the remarks during his opening speech, with the World Championships set to begin tomorrow. 

“The United Arab Emirates understands the importance of sport as a great tool for education,” he said.

“At the end of the day, athletes are here from the five continents, from over 100 countries, to decide who has the most athletic physique, the most harmony, symmetry and muscularity in the world.

“We have brought people with different ideas, politics and religions together, and all the athletes are celebrating their common passion – bodybuilding.

“What a beautiful way to teach and celebrate tolerance, and tolerance is a great message for the youngsters.

“Our competitors and our IFBB family are proud to be here, with the fantastic facilities and great hospitality.

“All our competitors are going to enjoy their time here.”

The IFBB Men's World Championships Opening Ceremony featured a number of musical performances ©IFBB
The IFBB Men’s World Championships Opening Ceremony featured a number of musical performances ©IFBB

Santonja’s speech was followed by musical performances of songs from the UAE and a display by vertical fitness athletes and gymnasts. 

Crown Prince of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, was in attendance, as was Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, IFBB vice-president for Asia and the Emirates Bodybuilding Federation President. 

Competition is due to begin here tomorrow with categories in the games classic bodybuilding, classic bodybuilding and classic physique divisions. 

The event then concludes on Saturday (November 9) with men’s bodybuilding and the IFBB world rankings and awards. 

The World Championships are being held here for the first time, having been hosted in the Spanish resort of Benidorm since 2014. 


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