In a dazzling display of determination and resilience, Bhutanese bodybuilder Tandin Wangchen claimed the gold medal in the athletic physique 182cm category at the recent World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship 2023 in South Korea. This victory marked the pinnacle of a 15-year-long professional bodybuilding career for the 46-year-old from Paro, who had declared this competition his final international endeavor.
Wangchen’s preparation for the championship was a grueling test of physical and mental fortitude. His daily routine leading up to the event involved two hours of strength training and an hour of cardio both in the morning and evening, all while sustaining himself on a mere 1,800 calories. This regimen left him perpetually hungry and fatigued, but his unwavering determination to secure a gold medal kept him pushing forward.
On the day of the competition, Wangchen, having not eaten for 18 hours, faced a moment of near-collapse backstage during his pumping routine. However, the trials were vindicated as he emerged victorious, surpassing competitors from 48 countries and etching his name in Bhutanese sports history.
“This gold medal is very significant for me as I have been trying to become a World Champion for the past 15 years,” Wangchen expressed after his triumph. Having competed in various Asian, South Asian, and World Championships throughout his career, he now bids farewell to the competitive bodybuilding arena, but not without a promise to continue training and supporting upcoming athletes.
In a gracious acknowledgment, Wangchen thanked his supporters, saying, “My deepest love and appreciation to everyone for showering me with best wishes and blessings.” His dedication to promoting a healthy lifestyle extends beyond his personal achievements, as he plans to contribute to the development of aspiring athletes.
The victory not only brought personal fulfillment to Wangchen but also served as a proud moment for Bhutan when the national anthem echoed in front of athletes and delegates from around the world. Wangchen seized the opportunity to showcase Bhutan on the global stage and emphasized the importance of timely support from family and sports bodies in the journey to becoming a champion.
Reflecting on the challenges faced by bodybuilders, Wangchen highlighted the critical factors of time, money, and commitment, asserting that success in the sport is intertwined with these elements. He hopes that his success will inspire a new generation of Bhutanese athletes, emphasizing the significance of good intentions and hard work in achieving excellence.
As Tandin Wangchen takes his well-deserved bow from competitive bodybuilding, Bhutan celebrates a sports icon who not only brought home gold but also leaves behind a legacy of dedication, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence.