Twenty-three years after an Indian first won the Mr Universe title, another desi has done it. Hira Lal, 33, a professional bodybuilder from Kapurthala, Punjab, has won the Mr Universe title at the 65th World Body Building Championship that was recently held in Mumbai. In 1988, it was Premchand Degra who had won the title.
“It is a dream-come-true ... I am extremely happy to have won the title for the country,” says Lal, a head constable with Punjab Police. He says it was his childhood visits to the akhada with his father that inspired him to take up professional bodybuilding.
He’s slightly disappointed, though. “Logon se bahut zyada samman mila lekin na government aur na kisi bodybuilding association ya federation se koi reward mila; jaise baaki sportspersons ko milta hai. Ek gold medal mila jo asli gold bhi nahi hai.”
A Bollywood actor he looks up to? “I don’t watch movies but I like Salman Khan because he has inspired so many boys to start going to the gym.”