TEL AVIV – An Israeli bodybuilder has won the title of Mr. Universe, making it the first time an Israeli has bagged the award won four times in the past by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Kobi Ifrach won the under-23 Junior Division title on Sunday at the competition organized by the National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association (NABBA) in the UK.
It was the first win for Israel in the 67-year history of the competition.
“I have been training 24 hours a day for many years,” Ifrach told Ynet. “Training means following a tight schedule—eating every hour and a half and not drinking water at all on some days.”
“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,” he added.
Ifrach was given his trophy by Yoni Hanna, the president of NABBA in Israel and a winner of 2013’s Mr. World.
Ifrach, now 20-years-old, has been bodybuilding from a young age, following in the footsteps of his older brothers who never ended up going pro.
Ifrach said training for the tournament was extremely intense.
“I had no time for a social life during the preparation,” Ifrach Ynet.
He added that he was already prepping himself for next year’s competition.