CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebuano muscleman Joshua Salang, 24, has defied odds to get closer to his life-long dream competition.
Although, he fell short of acquiring a professional card in the recent IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding) Pro League and NPC Worldwide Pro League Qualifier – Muscle Contest Philippines in Subic Convention Center last October 8, Salang is patiently working to move up to his much-desired competition – the Mr. Olympia.
Mr. Olympia is the same competition that Bodybuilder-turned-action star-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger ruled from 1970 to 1975 and in 1980.
However, 5th year Architecture student at Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) defeated seasoned opponents to win the gold in the Mr. Physique Boardshorts category, becoming the first ever bodybuilder from the Visayas to win the distinction.
“In the boardshorts category each contestant is judged through aesthetics. That refers to the combination of size and conditioning, muscle shape, and symmetry, and pleasing personality,” explained the youthful Salang.
The Subic IFBB qualifier was participated not just by Filipino bodybuilders but also musclemen and women from Vietnam, Japan, India, Thailand, Singapore, and UK.
“I won the Men’s Physique gold medal, but I fell short of the overall title and the pro card because I lacked preparatory points since I just came from injury. Last June I was supposed to compete in an IFBB sanctioned event in Toledo City, unfortunately I had to undergo appendectomy. Beforethat, I had to rest for six weeks because I injured my back trying to set my personal best in the deadlift. Luckily, it was just a muscle strain and I only need rest to heal. Despite the short preparation, I still managed to get my body back in shape and win my category,” added the Whey King Supplement Athlete.
Philippines will be represented by homegrown Filipino bodybuilder Joven Sagabain of Cavite, who won the overall title and will fly to compete in the Mr. Olympia 2022 on December 15-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada in the USA.
The Ambassador of Muscle Café & Bar admitted that the setbacks that he had prior to the October 8 event gave him fears of suffering another injury, especially that he will be competing his first international competition.
“It gives me some sort of a phobia. What if it happens again? What if I will have an injury again that will prevent me from competing in the Muscle Philippines. Those fears kept me on my toes during my training and preparations. Thankfully, I made it and I resolved to do better. Not just for myself but to the young Cebuanos who look up to bodybuilding as sport,” the former team captain of the ACT Bulacao Juniors basketball varsity team continued.
After leaving basketball behind, Joshua started to focus on building more muscles and won his first competition – the 2019 1st Cebu Open Physique competition at the age of 19. Followed by another title the Toledo City 1st Mayor’s Cup Open Men’s Physique Champion in June of 2021.
In the IFBB Pro-Elite Nationals competition he brought home the silver medal in the Juniors category (23 years old and under) and another runner-up finish in the Open Men’s Physique Medium Category, which was his first National Competition in San Fernando, Pampanga.
The October 8 competition in Subic was only his fifth competition, but the way he showed his potential, officials, coaches and aficionados believed that he is destined to be one of the country’s top muscle buffs.
Currently, he’s weighing his options either to join in the IFBB Philippines Grand Prix on October 29 or compete in Asian level stage abroad.
“My goal is to compete in the Mr. Olympia. That is what all bodybuilders are dreaming of. There are a lot of steps to be taken but I will be patient and resilient. I will try to join as many qualifying competitions as possible to get that ticket.”
Aside from completing his dream, the youngest of the three sons of Architect Julius and Therese Salang is concentrating on his studies as he is in his final year in BS Architecture course.
On the sides, Joshua is also a canine trainer and owner and founder of Jackhammer KENNEL Haus. He also sells and supplies gym equipment and owns a customized motorbike business – MotoArk Custom. RCM