When Strongman Champions League rolls into a country they invite that country’s strongest men to compete.
So when it came to the Final Strongman Champions League event in Malaysia, today’s subject ZAROL ALFIYAN was part of the competition.
Phil Burgess: You recently competed in the Final Strongman Champions League competition in your home country of Malaysia, how did you get the invite and how did you prepare?
Zarol Alfiyan: Well , a few months ago , a friend of mine from Norway (he’s a young strongman as well) told me that the grand finals for the SCL will be held in my home country , Malaysia.
Getting the invite, at first I thought it was a joke until my great friend from Singapore , Ahmad Taufiq called me 2 weeks before the competition and told me i was invited to compete in the competition .
To be honest , I shivered and was startled upon receiving the news , I had a fever for 4 days because of that and I didn’t get to prepare well since I didn’t have much time to work on my lifts. I just concentrated on loads of conditioning and recovery work because I had been training with heavy loads for the past few weeks since.
Phil Burgess: How old are you and how much did you weigh at the competition? What was your best event and your biggest struggle? and what was the biggest lesson you learnt from the competition
Zarol Alfiyan: I competed at the age of 18 years old , 10 days right after I turned 18 . I’m not a big man , thus , during the competition I was standing “Average” at 175cm and weighed in at 124kg .
I was pretty happy with my performance especially in the 27 tonnes truck pull , no-one managed to finish the whole course , the furthest was 12 metres by Hafthor of Iceland , two of the guys didn’t get to move it even for an inch and I was the lightest man to compete yet I managed to move it even though for just a few inches .
I don’t really know what’s my best event but I really love overhead events , the event that I struggled with the most was the tyre flip.
I’ve never trained the tyre flip before but I still managed to flip it 4 times with terrible technique but I was happy with it .
I’d say the biggest lesson I learned was that strongman is not just about strength but overall fitness , endurance and power as well.
Phil Burgess: I saw that you said you had first seen Zydrunas compete when you were 7, so what was it like to meet him in the flesh? and what was the first question you asked him, and what else did you learn from him?
Zarol Alfiyan: Yes, I was so young and I had no idea what they were doing until I got into the gym and saw a strongman video and I had a massive flashback about the World’s Strongest Man 2002 .
It was crazy because he has always been my idol and i’ve always wanted to meet him, not everyone in this world can meet him in person, so , it’s an honor to meet him.
I can’t recall what I asked him but I learnt something from him, he told me to work hard , be consistent and don’t quit during the line up before the presentation . I’m so happy that I get blessings from The World’s Strongest Man himself .
Phil Burgess: So is there a Malaysia’s Strongest Man competition? and if not what do you think are the chances of one happening next year? Also what was the Malaysian publics reaction to the SCL competition?
Zarol Alfiyan: Apparently , there’s none but we have a few regional competitions such as The Sabah’s Strongest man , Labuan’s Strongest man and a few more . Well , Strongman sports are not famous in Malaysia , most of the nation had no idea what strongman is.
They thought strongman is just like bodybuilding until they came down to the venue to see these big men go head to head with odd objects and immense weights !
Let’s be honest , you don’t always see a man pull a truck that weighs up to 27 tonnes or more , hence , the public were amazed with the feat of strength shown by the athletes .
Phil Burgess: Do you think introducing the lighter mens weight categories into Strongman in Asia will help its popularity, or do you think the public will only want to see the bigger guys regardless to where they are from in the world?
Zarol Alfiyan: In my opinion , we should just stick with the open weight category so we can see guys with different weights , heights compete with each other . What I like about strongman is that, some of the athletes are tall , some are short, some are heavy and some are light , yet they don’t use it as an excuse to compete with bigger or smaller guys.
It’s all about being the strongest with what you have regardless of you’re lack of height etc .
When you’re strong , you’re strong , if you’re not , work hard and don’t quit .