Syrian bodybuilder Mahmoud Ibrahim Alhdidi, 29, who was to participate in the Men's World Amateur Bodybuilding Championship in Mumbai, died on Friday night of a suspected cardiac arrest during the weigh-in.
Tournament organisers and Indian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation general secretary Sanjay More confirming the news. "He fell unconscious yesterday due to dehydration and was rushed to a hospital in suburban Malad, where he was declared dead for suspected heart attack," said More.
Over 180 bodybuilders are competing in nine different categories in the tournament, the preliminaries for which were held at the Bhaidas hall in Vile Parle (West) on Saturday. The finals will be held at the Andheri Sports Complex on Sunday.
Bodybuilders usually go on a crash diet a week before the competition to bring their weight down to permissible limits and even stop drinking water during that period. An eyewitness told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity that Alhdidi was unwell even before he came to the weigh-in and had to be brought on a wheelchair. He fell down and sustained a head injury during the weigh-in and was taken to the hospital after he started vomiting and fell unconscious, added the eyewitness.
Alhdidi was to participate in the 75kg category. Syria has sent a seven-member contingent for the competition but efforts to contact the manager or other players proved futile.
While the organisers maintained that dehydration was the cause of death, the police are not willing to rule out the possibility of overdose of drugs used to reduce weight rapidly.
"We have not given a clean chit to anybody as yet. We have sent samples of the supplements in the athlete's room for examination. The body has been sent for post-mortem and we will be able to ascertain the exact cause of death only after we get the reports," said Ramrao Pawar, additional commissioner of police (north region).