WATCH: Israeli Wins Prestigious Mr. Universe
Kobi Ifrach, 20, won the Mr. Universe competition in the under-23 Junior Division in an international tournament held on Sunday in Birmingham, England. The young man from Zikhron Ya’akov becoming the first Israeli to win the bodybuilding event in the 67 years that the National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association (NABBA) has been organizing the competition.
Excited, Ifrach spoke spoke with Israeli Ynet after his win. “It is an amazing feeling to wrap myself in the Israeli flag. I came from such a small country and became the center of attention. This is unprecedented!”
Mr. Universe title has been won by famous bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, who dominate the compatition four years in a row between 1967-1970.
“I have been training 24 hours a day for many years. Training means following a tight schedule—eating every hour and a half and not drinking water at all on some days.” He told Yedioth Ahronoth.
“It’s an amazing feeling to wrap myself in the Israeli flag. I came from such a small country and became the center of attention. This is unprecedented!”
Speaking about the tense moments on stage before he was declared the winner, he said: “[I was] thinking of all these difficulties and of the hard work I had invested in the preparations. I had no time for a social life during the preparation, ” Ifrach told Yedioth. “After the tournament we all went to eat hamburgers and it was insane. Breakfast at the hotel was very exciting.”
Ifrach won many tournaments in Israel over the years, and is planning to compete next year. He told the Israeli newspaper how he got into bodybuilding thanks to his older brothers, who were amateur bodybuilders.
When he was asked for his secret in dealing with the stressful lifestyle he said “The first rule of bodybuilding is to get along with everyone.”
“I had no time for a social life during the preparation, ” Ifrach said. “After the tournament we all went to eat burgers, and it was insane. Breakfast at the hotel was very exciting.”
Yoni Hanna, the president of NABBA in Israel, presented the Mr. Universe trophy to Ifrach. Hanna himself a winner of 2013’s Mr. World. He is coached by Dani Kaganovich, and he told Ynet that he sacrificed much for the competition.
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