KARACHI: Bodybuilder Hamid Ali, nicknamed, Gujju, wanted to become Mr Pakistan, however, his dream never came true as he fell a few points short in the last competition he featured in — the South Asian Bodybuilding Championship — to claim bronze and passed away two days later on April 3.
According to Ali’s close friend and gym partner Chaudhry Faheem Nawaz, the athlete’s death was shocking.
“I’m just shocked, and so is everyone else; I’ve just buried him,” Nawaz told The Express Tribune. “Ali had started bodybuilding in 1998, and he became Mr Punjab in 2007 but his biggest dream was to win the Mr Pakistan title.”
Faheem revealed that despite Ali passing away from a cardiac arrest, which generally results from excessive steroid usage by athletes, the deceased was never involved in anything illegal.
“The cause of his death was a cardiac arrest. I am 100 per cent sure he didn’t do anything illegal or took anything wrong during or before the championship. He had three young daughters; he couldn’t afford to be careless like that,” said Faheem.
Ali’s condition began to deteriorate on Saturday night and he was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead within the hour.
Meanwhile, Waqas Tariq, who claimed gold at the same event Ali bagged bronze, was of the opinion that Ali must have undergone a strenuous training routine, or taken large quantities of supplements which caused a reaction.
“I saw a picture of him from three weeks ago and he looked great,” revealed Tariq. “But when I saw him at the competition he wasn’t the same. I could tell. I’m just shocked because he was a mature athlete. He knew the technicalities well. I feel he tried to take some shortcut to get better results; that’s what pressure does to athletes.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Bodybuilding Federation President Sheikh Farooq Iqbal said that this is the second time that an athlete passed away like that and feels the need to set up an anti-doping laboratory to make testing easier.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2016.