Power-lifter Melvyn Yeo is trying to bring bodybuilding back to its former glory in Singapore, but this time, in an all-natural way.
That is without the ‘benefits’ of steroids or performance-enhancing drugs, since these tarnished the image of the sport.
Yeo is in charge of the Singapore chapter of the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF), which is the most respected drug-free federation of bodybuilders in the world.
WNBF will have its first competition in the country at the SingaPost Auditorium on September 7 of this year, an event that Yeo is organizing.
The goal of Yeo, who competed in the Asean Para Games in 2015, is to elevate the status of bodybuilding in Singapore, where it was once, as he says, “a national sport.”
WNBF will examine the state of the sport today and endeavor to remove bodybuilding’s negative image and its association with illegal substances.
It aims to render a platform competitive for athletes who have chosen the drug-free route, so would-be competitors will be strictly screened through urine and polygraph tests just to ensure that they have not partaken of performance-enhancing drugs.
Yeo says that athletes who wish to compete will take polygraph tests that determine whether they have been drug free for a decade, otherwise they will face a ten-year ban from joining WNBF events.
The power lifter told TISG, “The goal is to bring back positive image of fitness and bodybuilding, and to provide a drug-free competition organisation for these athletes locally and internationally.”
When asked whether the excessively stringent measure is killing bodybuilding today, Yeo says it is not the case.
“I wouldn’t say it has killed business, there is so much focus on health and fitness nowadays globally, in the CBD area there is a gym or a health or fitness related place about every 100 meters.”
Bodybuilding is no longer solely associated with physiques similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, but even those doing regular, everyday workouts involves some bodybuilding. This is more and more common, he says, with women, who are doing more resistance training than ever before.
For a small country, Singapore now has six federations of bodybuilders. “Some of the bigger federations like NABBA or MF have up to 300 athletes competing at one time,” Mr Yeo added.
IT’S CALLED BODYBUILDING, NOT BODY DESTROYING. WE DON’T WANT TO DESTROY THE BODY, WE WANT TO BUILD THE BODY AND WE WANT TO BUILD HEALTH AND WE WANT TO BUILD FITNESS, AND WE WANT TO BUILD LONGEVITY.”
He acknowledges, however, that drug-free bodybuilding competitions are a new concept in this part of the world, unlike in places such as the United States. But with social media and the internet, the movement is getting bigger.
Yeo told TISG, “I just came back from Taiwan last month from their inaugural competition and they had 100 athletes, some who flew in from Hong Kong, the Philippines. I would say that people are not aware of the drug-free movement as steroid usage has been linked to the sport.”
But more and more awareness of drug-free weightlifting is arising, which will lead individuals to decide whether they want to use performance-enhancing drugs or stay “natural” like the WNBF.
Even Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing for drug-testing in bodybuilding, Mr Yeo says.
The longtime poster boy for bodybuilding made headlines in the world of bodybuilding last week when he said at an event in South Africa,
“There’s a lot of people who feels if they take drugs it will enhance their performance.
“But if you think you can take two pills and it will help you, there are those who will say I take ten pills and it should be five times good.
“But then they overdose,” /TISG