Muscle Builder, Vol 14, Num 2, Page 39, July 1973
The contestants swarmed into Iraq's capitol city by boat, by bus, by train and by plane. Surging throughout this entire gathering was a unique spirit of warm friendship and genuine brotherhood through sports, efficiently organized by the IFBB. Men of good will from many different religious faiths, political leanings, and racial backgrounds met in the spirit of harmony and true amity.
Long known as a city of international mystery, fabulous Baghdad rolled out the red carpet for the IFBB World Bodybuilding Championships. Gone are the days when bodybuilders had to participate in poorly attended contests held in a smelly old arena. When the IFBB holds its annual Mr. Universe contest, the spectacle is on par with the Academy Awards Show. Lucky Ed Corney, who won the IFBB "Mr. Americas," and equally fortunate Mike Katz, IFBB Mr. World, were sent as representatives of the United States to participate in this great show. Ken Waller, the 3rd man of the 'USA team pulled a muscle and had to cancel his trip. They not only won the coveted team championship award, but were received as enthusiastically as the top movie stars are in America.
"Mr. Universe Party"
The Swiss Amateur Bodybuilding Federation President, Raymond Sauvet, organized a Special Charter Flight for the contestants going to Baghdad. Both delegates and bodybuilders arriving from allover the globe assembled in Geneva in preparation for the flight to the contest on board Iraqi Airlines. The clever Swiss organized a "Mr. Universe-in-Transit-Ball" to finance the cost of providing everyone with two nights room and board. The Ball was attended by over 800 people and they all had a wonderful time. It was the first opportunity for the enthusiastic Swiss bodybuilders to meet, watch and talk to the greatest physique stars from many other countries. More than 70 delegates and contestants boarded the exclusive Iraqi Airline Telestar jet, reserved only for the IFBB, that whisked everyone from Geneva to Baghdad in luxurious splendor.
1972 IFBB Mr. Universe
Team Trophy Winners:
1972 IFBB Mr. Asia
On my way to Baghdad, I stopped at London, England, to pick up Dennis Stallard, Acting Chairman of the IFBB Judges Committee, and his charming wife. Together, we flew to Baghdad several days prior to the arrival of the contestants for the Mr. Asia competition.
Awaiting us at Baghdad's Airport was a dramatic indication of what was to come. We were given a royal V.I.P. reception! Imagine. . . no passport or customs examination! Now I know how Henry Kissinger must feel in similar circumstances. After a brief Press Conference, we were quickly escorted to a first class hotel in a beautiful limousine. Naturally I assumed we were getting preferential treatment because of my position as International President of our Federation. But every delegate and contestant arriving later enjoyed the very same warm V.I.P. reception!
Enjoying their roles as international celebrities, Ed Corney, Mike Katz, and Tom Minichiello (Vice President of the IFBB for North America) had flown non-stop from New York to Geneva. Along with the other delegates and competitors from thirty-five nations, they stayed at a fabulous hotel overlooking beautiful Lake Geneva. They mingled with huge throngs at the Mr. Universe-in-Transit Ball and all the top competitors gave posing exhibitions that were covered by local TV and the press.
Nearly overwhelmed by the fabulous accommodations in Baghdad, Tom Minichiello said, "The balcony of my room overlooked possibly the most beautiful mosque of the city. Each nation had its own car, driver and guide. Each car was identified with its own flag on the door. I felt like a diplomat from the United Nations!" Tom was very proud to be elected to the Judges Committee, headed by the extremely capable Dennis Stallard of Wales.
The Iraqi Federation simply outdid themselves in their hospitality. Three sumptuous meals per day were provided for everyone for the entire seven days. The automobiles, along with driver and interpreter, were at the constant disposal of the contestants, making it easy to get around in this amazing city and its environs.
"Mr. Asia" Contest
The first event was the Asian Amateur Bodybuilding Championships. The activities included a meeting of the Asian Executive Council and Congress. The nine Asian countries taking part included Palestine (by special consent), Lebanon, India, Pakistan, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Iraq.
General B. Rana, President of the Asian Bodybuilding Federation, with his General. Secretary, Mr. Ch Mohammed Amin, both of Lahore, Pakistan, were present. The hall was packed to capacity with 2600 people. The winners were:
Iraq won the team championship with 32 points, followed by Lebanon with 16, and Japan with 3 points. The contest, easily dominated by Iraq, was featured on live television for two hours of prime time throughout the entire country. It was seen by millions of viewers. The event was also covered by newspapers and radio for many days. This national publicity increased interest for the "Mr. Universe" which followed a few days later.
Medical Symposium and Clinic
The Executive Council held a meeting discussing various IFBB problems of the past year. The IFBB Medical Committee met under the chairmanship of Dr. Yousif D. Al-Naaman, Professor and Director of the College of Medicine at the University of Baghdad. This was sponsored by the Iraqi Medical Society. Doctor Lawrence Golding, Professor-Director of the Applied Physiology Research Laboratory at Kent State University, gave a report on the research he has started on anabolic steroids. It was well received. Dr. Richard You, of Hawaii, gave a report on Nutrition in relation to building muscular champions. Two other Iraqi doctors gave reports on Nutrition and Protein. You will be hearing about this new research in future issues of Muscle Builder.
Approximately 300 doctors and coaches from all sections of Iraq participated. A special event of the Medical Symposium was the presentation of an Honorary Degree in Physical Education to me by the University of Baghdad. I was tremendously moved and thrilled by this great honor.
The Technical Committee, under the Chairmanship of Milan Cabric of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, worked intensively to formulate a special questionnaire enabling the Technical Committee to determine the various types of exercises the champions use to achieve maximum training results.
The Judges Committee decided on a new method of judging physique contests at the "Mr. Universe." Prior to selecting the new system, many nations presented their own formula for judging. The best features from each were considered and consolidated and then voted upon and approved by the committee. This new point system will be used in all future International competition.
The Iraqi National Olympic Committee and other various government agencies went all-out to the visiting delegates and contestants. They offered exceptional visitor events, including a special tour of the remains of the ancient civilization of Babylon. Particularly breathtaking was a spectacular tour of the legendary "Hanging Gardens of Babylon," one of the seven wonders of the world.
The now-defunct Life Magazine had sent two of their best photojournalists, Charles Gains and George Butler, to cover the Championships. They photographed the complete lineup of competitors in front of the "Lion of Babylon," which 4000 years ago symbolized strength to that once great nation. The untimely demise of LIFE cancelled what would have been a spectacular pictorial display which would have really elevated the sport of Bodybuilding and the IFBB.
Katz and Corney Cause a Sensation
The genial giant, Mike Katz, and his fellow teammate, the popular Ed Corney, caused a sensation wherever they went. They attracted a huge crowd of fans-numbering in the hundreds-when they went shopping or sight-seeing. Bodybuilding is Iraq's second most popular sport (next to football). As they walked through the narrow streets to do some souvenir shopping in the local "sucs" (shopping areas), all eyes started to gaze upon them. Every time they stopped to look at something, their followers also stopped, looked and waited with them. Most were thrilled to say "hello," or just touch them. Imagine, musclemen being treated like the Beatles used to be!
Also with them on their jaunts through this city of wonders was Tom Minichiello. Tom related the following incident. "At one point Katz and Corney entered a jewelry store. Mike had seen a gold bracelet he wanted for his wife. The store was just big enough for the two Superstars and the owner. As the crowd waited outside watching, Mike started to bargain with the owner over the price of the bracelet. The owner kept moving his head to indicate 'no.' After ten minutes of this, Dr. Golding and I took off to do our own window shopping. We told them we'd catch up with them later. About 45 minutes later we went back in that direction and found the group at the same store still bargaining over the bracelet. By this time the owner was sweating and the crowd outside had doubled in size; they were all intently watching the two like a Fisher-Spassky chess game.
"Finally, the owner threw up his hands, then wrapped them around Mike and kissed him on both of his cheeks and shook his hand. The crowd went wild and burst into spontaneous clapping and cheering. Katz exchanged some Dinars (Iraqi money) for the bracelet. He then gave me a knowing look and said that if I wanted to buy anything, to let him do the talking."
President of Iraq Patronizes the Championships.
We were specially honored that the President of the Republic of Iraq patronized our Championships. He also authorized the printing of the first two Bodybuilding Postage Stamps ever issued. The stamps were printed to commemorate our Championships and the name of our Federation was also printed on these rare collector's items. If you are interested in obtaining these First Day Issues, they are available for the price of only $2.00 on a Special First Day Cancellation envelope. Write to: IFBB Headquarters, Weider Building, 2875 Bates Road, Montreal 251, Que. Canada.
The Executive Council agreed with my decision to allow Palestine to participate in the Championships-although they are not a member of our federation-as a gesture of respect for Iraq. This does not mean that they are affiliated or recognized by our Federation. The problem of Palestine will be debated at the next IFBB Congress to be held at Geneva, Switzerland, October 2, 1973. The 1973 IFBB Mr. Universe Contest will take place at the same time.
Those wishing to secure tickets now, or make reservations, may do so by writing to:
Mr. Raymond Sauvet, President
Swiss Amateur Bodybuilding Federation
17 Ave, de la Grenade
1207 Geneva, Switzerland
The Opening Ceremonies
As an evidence of my great respect for Iraq and the extraordinary way they catered to all our delegates and contestants, I decided to make my opening speech in Arabic. This is an unusually difficult language to master because of its peculiar intonations. I had Mr. Malih Alaywan, our First Vice-President for the Middle East who lives in Beirut, make the official translation for me. Secretly, I had devoted an hour every day to study the speech in Arabic. When the night of the contest arrived, I was ready. The theatre was packed with 2,600 people and, to our astonishment, there was another 4,000 additional persons outside due to lack of space inside!
The crowd was so wildly enthusiastic that Mike Katz and Ed Corney could not get into the building in time and missed the opening ceremonies. When I was called upon to officially open the Mr. Universe Contest, imagine the great surprise of the audience and millions of television viewers when I spoke in Arabic. The applause was overwhelming. . . and continued after every sentence. I was pleased that it was so well received. It was my way of saying a heartfelt "thank you" to the Iraqi's for their wonderful kindness to me and our Federation.
Singing of the National Anthem of Iraq opened the competition. Then all of the fifty contestants paraded on stage, nation by nation, each carrying their respective flag.
When you consider that Iraq is so distant from Europe and the Americas, and also the explosive political situation in the Middle East, it was amazing that we had 32 nations participating. This was an excellent and valid testimony to our overwhelming interest in our sport and our activities among our now 81 member nations.
The Iraqi's were given the opportunity to see the world's greatest bodybuilders. Nation after nation sent their best men on stage to pose. The American team was weakened by the absence of Ken Waller who had pulled a muscle and was unable to make the trip to Baghdad. However, Katz and Corney brought honor to America by winning their respective height classes and the overall team championship. Tom Minichello as team manager took possession of the team trophy which he now has on display at the Mid-City Health Club in New York. When you are in New York, Tom will proudly show it to you.
The greatest satisfaction that a bodybuilder can achieve is officially representing his country at the International World Championships. The applause for each nation's representative was terrific, but it was positively deafening when the Americans appeared. Everybody admires Mike Katz and his phenomenal muscularity, and that of Ed Corney. They are particularly well known in Iraq through the pages of MUSCLE BUILDER Magazine. When at long last the Iraqi's finally got to see these Superstars in action, the effect was truly electrifying.
The pre-judging took place at 8:00 am on the morning of November 21st. The official opening ceremonies, however, took place at 4:00 pm at the Al-Nasr Cinema and it was covered by radio, TV; the Iraqi News Agency and the International News Service. The caliber of bodybuilders vying for International honors at this show was excellent. American bodybuilders had better beware because foreign physique stars are getting better and better. The Europeans and especially the Asian bodybuilders have climbed out of that "old lean look" and today possess a massive muscular appearance. They are now in possession of modern training methods and nutrition, and very important, are "bubbling over" with tremendous enthusiasm for bodybuilding.
After all the contestants posed, the results were announced. The Short Man Class was won by Kenichi Suemitsue of Japan and he graciously accepted the Gold medal and the first place trophy. The Medium Height Class competition was heavy but Ed Corney prevailed. Mike Katz took the laurels in the Tall Class. The USA won the team award (as previously mentioned), with Belgium second and Iraq a very close third. The Iraqi Minister of Youth then awarded the "Mr. Universe" all category trophy to Ed Corney. Mike Katz took second and Kenichi Suemitsue was third. It was truly a great show. On their way out of the Cinema, Corney and Katz had to be escorted by the local police as they were being mobbed by the Iraqi Bodybuilding fans.
There were seven Judges from seven different nations. Only International IFBB appointed Judges were allowed to officiate. Acting Chairman Stallard and Secretary Awanis Yesaian carefully compared and checked the results to assure complete honesty and competence. Stand-by Judges were available in case of any discrepancy. Fortunately, the judging went smoothly and the results were warmly applauded by the vast audience. Although the Iraqi fans were somewhat disappointed that their own heros did not place higher, they showed restraint and genuine respect for the winners. It is a pleasure to state that the Iraqi's are the best behaved audience that I have ever seen.
Following the contest there were more thrilling parties. . . more exhilarating entertainment. . . and more pleasure for all. Two days later, delegates and contestants left for their respective homes. The Europeans and Americans returned to Geneva aboard the special Iraqi Airlines chartered jet. The officials of the Iraqi Weightlifting and Bodybuilding Federation came to the airport to see us off and bid us a friendly farewell. As the jet took off and we looked down at the city of Baghdad, I am sure that everyone was thinking about the truly "unforgettable" time spent there.
While it is impossible to personally thank each and every individual on the numerous Committees for their excellent and untiring efforts to help make this Congress and Contest such a monumental success-because there are so many involved-I do particularly desire to express my warmest appreciation to:
Col. Abdul Hameed Al-Badri, President
Mr. Awanis Yesaian, Member
Mr. Farouk Kassim, Secretary
Mr. Sabagh, Member
These gentlemen worked particularly hard. However, the entire Iraqi Federation is to be equally congratulated for their unusual ability, intelligence, and dedication of service to others.
Also, I wish to express my warmest thanks to the President of the Republic of Iraq, His Excellency Mr. Ahmen Al Bakr, for so graciously patronizing this Contest and extending to us the complete co-operation of the Iraqi government. I wish to also extend my thanks to the Minister of Youth and the President of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, Mr. Adnan Ayoub Sabry Al-Izzi for the confidence he placed in me and for all the efforts extended through his Department which resulted in making this Congress and Contest the greatest and most successful ever conducted.
It was interesting to observe that every delegate and contestant left Baghdad with a happy smile. Each took home many unusual souvenirs which they will treasure for a lifetime. I now close my report by repeating the closing words of my speech in Baghdad. . . "LONG LIVE THE IRAQI SPORTSMAN."
- Our dedicated President, Ben Weider, mastered his opening welcome speech at the IFBB World Federation Congress by speaking in Arabic. He goes to great lengths to bring a hostile world together in an atmosphere of brotherly love and mutual respect. Bodybuilders the World over owe him a great deal of respect.
- Malih Alaywant, our 1st Vice-President from the lovely country of Lebanon, really went all-out to make this show the phenomenal success that it was. He is a man with a will of steel with great integrity, and the IFBB is justly proud of him.
-Raymond Sauvert journeyed from Switzerland to work with the Judges Committee. He made sure that everything worked perfectly. Raymond is staging the IFBB Mr. Universe this year in Geneva and we recommend that all bodybuilders save their money and vacation time to witness the greatest of all spectacles in mid-October.
- (nine photos on one page) Parcha Sawan, Thialand, 8th place Medium Class; Baldo Lois, Spain, 2nd place Medium Class; Annette Mederic, France, 2rd place Medium Class; Solomon Esmanto, Malaysia, 7th place, Tall class; Mathey Claudet, Swtizerland, 15th place Medium class; Mohamed Markkawi, Egypt, 3rd place Short Class; Faris Jahjah, Lebanon, 6th place Medium class; Koth Tat Khoon, Malaysia, 10th place Medium class; Serge Jacobs, Belgium, 5th place Medium class;
-Proof that Body Builders the world over are reaching fabulous heights of development, so much so that no country now with the advent of the Weider System, has to take a back seat to any nation. SHORT MAN CLASS Stars: Left, Abdul Aleem (Pakistan), Kenichi Svemitsue (Japan), Talib Aldodry (Iraq), Johnny Cox (Malaysia), Hubert Plumens (Belgium). What a powerhouse of muscular marvels. . . !
- (eight photos on one page) Keijo Reiman, Finland, 5th place, Tall class; Ali Al-Gayyar, Iraq, 3rd place, Tall class; Pierre Vandensteen, Belgium, 2nd place Short Class; Winston Roberts, Canada, 6th place, Tall class; Ed Corney, USA, 1st Place, Mr. Unvierse; Kenichi Seumitsue, Japan, 1st place Short Class; Ismal Ibraham, Palestine, 9th place, Tall class; Slavko Mutic, Yugoslavia, 8th place, Tall class;
-TEAM COACHES REPRESENTING "NATIONS WINNING CLASS TROPHIES" proudly accept the fabulous trophies awarded to them by the host country. Left: Jacques Bloomerart, Belgium 2nd place, Tom Minichello, U.S.A. 1st, Farouk Kassim, Iraq 3rd.
Jak Coursaris, Cyprus, 11th place, Tall class;
- (nine photos on one page) Rogero Tampalini, Italy, 11th place Medium class; Thil Paul, Luxembourg, 14th place Medium class; Talib Aldoory, Iraq, 5th place Short Class; Abbas Al Hindawi, Iraq, 4th place Medium class; Mike Katz, USA, 1st place, Tall class; Bras Antonio Dasilva, Brazil, 6th place Short Class; Carlos Cardena, Venezuela, 9th place, Tall class; Mitsumaha Kawakami, Japan, 12th place Medium class; J. Rudman, Sweden 1st place Medium class;
- WINNERS IN THE TALL MAN CLASS Left Baldo Lois of Spain took second, Mike Katz, U.S.A. 1st, and Ali Al-Gayyar (Iraq) 3rd.
- Malay Roy, India, 18th place Medium class;
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