India's G Balakrishna has won the coveted Mr Asia 2016 title at the 5th Phil-Asia International Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships that took place earlier this month in the Philippines. The 25-year-old, who hails from Bengaluru, dedicated his win to Indian Army soldiers.
After winning the title on October 1, Balakrishna took to Facebook to thank everyone for supporting him and helping him to become Mr Asia.
"I am proud of my achievement and hope to repeat it more often with some financial support," Balakrishna, who is a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, told the Hindu. "I owe it to my mother Parvathamma and brother Rajesh who have been my pillars of support," he added.
Mr Asia is not the first bodybuilding title for him. In 2013, Balakrishna won Mr Universe Under-24 title in Germany and next year, he went on to grab the Mr Universe title in the same category at the world championship in Athens, Greece, the Hindu reported.
Balakrishna, who works as a water tanker driver, practices for around six hours daily. Champions Sangram Chougla from Mumbai and Munish Kumar from Punjab also train Balakrishna.
"I am maintaining my position with a rich daily diet that includes 750 g of chicken, 25 eggs, 300 g of rice, 200 g of vegetables along with fish and fruits for extra protein," he said.
Balakrishna's journey to the Mr Asia platform was not easy. He had to raise funds to participate in the competition. Whitefield Settlers' and Residents Association and businessman Koshy Varghese helped him raise funds for the competition.
"Despite winning the championship, my worry will always be of funds. With no government support, I still struggle to participate in bodybuilding championships outside the country," Balakrishna said.
In July, another Indian bagged a coveted title at the international platform. Rohit Khandelwal became the first Indian to win the Mr World title. He was announced as the winner of Mr World 2016 title on the night of July 19 in Southport, UK.