SAZALI Samad is hoping for a boost ahead of next month's Myanmar Sea Games with a record ninth Mr Universe title at the World Bodybuilding and Physique Championships in Budapest on Sunday.Sazali is a firm favourite in the lightweight (70kg) category but winning in Budapest will not make him a leading contender in Myanmar.
The veteran is competing in the Sea Games for the first time since the 2003 edition in Hanoi. He won his first Sea Games gold in the 1997 edition in Jakarta.
Five bodybuilders left for Budapest on Tuesday to compete in the world meet but only Sazali, 45, is expected to return with a title.
He claimed his maiden Mr Universe title in the bantamweight (65kg) in Malacca 13 years ago, followed by wins in Moscow (2004) and Ostrava, Czech Republic (2006).
Sazali then moved up to the lightweight category and won in Jeju, South Korea (2007), Dubai (2009), Varanasi, India (2010), Malacca (2011) and Bangkok (2012).
The police officer is the country's most successful bodybuilder, having also won the Asian Championships several times.
But Sazali is motivated to make an impact in Budapest after failing to defend his Asian title in Vietnam in August. He won a bronze.
"I am fit and stronger under the guidance of coach Milos Sarcev. He drew up a tough programme," said Sazali recently.
"I puked a few times. Age has not stopped me from training hard. It is challenging as it is tough to lose body fat when you are older.
"I am also hoping to regain my status as the Sea Games champion, so hopefully my extra hours in the gym will pay dividends."
Azhar Mohamad, Roszaimi Abdul Rani, Mohd Syarul Azman Mahen and Buda Anchah are Malaysia's other representatives in the world meet.
Bodybuilding is making a return to the Sea Games after a six-year lapse. It was last contested at the 2007 Korat edition but Sazali did not compete.
Sea Games squad: Mohd Syarul Azman Mahen (flyweight -- 55kg), Roszaimi Abdul Rani (super flyweight -- 60kg), Sazali Samad (lightweight -- 70kg), Buda Anchah (light middleweight -- 80kg), Wong Hong (light heavyweight -- 90kg).