The Kurdish Globe
By Zakaria Muhammed-Erbil
Kurdistan's most famous bodybuilder, Ahmed Majeed, better known as Ahmed Rambo, has been officially appointed as president of the World Amateur Body Building Association (WABBA) branch of Iraq.
The idea of opening WABBA branch in Iraq was thought by Majeed after he made contacts with some famous bodybuilders in Germany. He discussed the subject with bodybuilders Michael and Erol who are two close friends of him. Both recommended him to send a request to the WABBA to seek the opening of a branch in Iraq.
Majeed was asked by WABBA to send his résumé and illustrate how he would be able to head the branch in Iraq. Majeed's dream came true as WABBA officials formally accepted opening of a branch in Iraq on March 1st, 2012.
After being recognized as the president of WABBA branch in Iraq, he started thinking of choosing some good bodybuilders to take part in the 2012 Men's World Amateur Bodybuilding Championship held in Padua, Italy between June 9-11.
Sardar Ismail, Omer Faisal, and Didar Khudhur, from Kurdistan represented Iraq in the competition. Both of Kurdish top bodybuilders Sardar Ismail and Omer Faisal won gold medals in their respective categories.
Majeed's rise to fame is an apt illustration of how the sport has outgrown its poor reputation during his lifetime. Majeed, 37, began lifting weights in 1988. He didn't tell his parents who had taken a dim view of the sport, regarding it as alien to Kurdish culture and tradition. Within two years, Majeed had won gold in the Iraqi Bodybuilding Championships in the 75 kilo category.
By this time, he had earned his nickname for resembling Sylvester Stallone and wearing bandanas on his head like the American actor's Rambo character.
Majeed left Iraqi Kurdistan in 1995 to escape the bitter Kurdish civil war, but continued to compete successfully in Germany. He returned in 2004, and led a group of Kurdish bodybuilders to the 2009 Asian Bodybuilding Championships in Thailand.
Majeed new career will be form a staff for WABBA branch. According to him, he has been given green light to choose a secretary and staff members by himself.
"In a near future I will disclose to all bodybuilders in a press conference on what standard WABBA is working in Iraq and who can work with me,"
When asked if he has received any support from the local government for the branch yet, Majeed answered "I haven't asked for any help from any sides so far. But because the branch is in Erbil and its president is a Kurd, I would like to see the branch working under Kurdistan Olympic Committee's umbrella,"
Since one of WABBA's missions is to open training courses for bodybuilders in the world, Majeed likes to see a branch of WABBA Academy in Erbil soon in order that as many bodybuilders as possible can be enlightened with latest bodybuilding techniques. He also likes to witness world championship to be held in Erbil one day.
"I wish all people to pay attention to WABBA which, I am sure, is going to be strong in Iraq soon. The success of the branch in Erbil is not the success of the sport only but it is the prosperity of all Iraqi and Kurdish people."
Majeed hopes the Kurdish government and all the related agencies including Ministry of Health, Ministry of Culture and Youths, the Olympic Committee to help him in his new career for the sake of strengthening the sports and the political and economic conditions of the country also.
The World Amateur Body Building Association (WABBA) is a bodybuilding organization founded in 1976 by the legendary French bodybuilder Serge Nubret. The association joined the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association (NABBA) based in England in 1977, but disjoined again in 1983. WABBA holds World Championships and European Championships.
The athletes who compete within the category Men Body aren't limited by any limit of weight. The Categories are defined by the height of the competitors except for the categories Super J24 (this category is similar to the former juniors' category except for the age limit), Super Masters and Masters which are defined by the age of the athletes.