Birmingham: To celebrate 70th year of Pakistan’s independence, one of the many events planned for 2017 was a Bodybuilding contest titled “Azadi Celebration Classic 2017” at Birmingham’s most historic and iconic building, the Town Hall on 9th of April 2017. Councillor John Clancy, Leader of the Birmingham City Council graced the event as the Chief Guest. The event was organized in cooperation with the International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) – the apex organization of bodybuilding represented through its national affiliates in more than 192 countries and the UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (UKBFF) – the national affiliate from the UK. A large number of wider British communities attended the event both as spectators and as competitors.
The ceremony commenced with recitation from Holy Quran followed by welcome remarks of the Consul Syed Ahmed Maroof and Mr. William Tierney, President UKBFF who is also the General Secretary of IFBB. At the end, the Chief Guest was invited for his remarks.
In his welcome remarks, the Consul highlighted the 70th celebration of Pakistan’s Independence that also marked 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s bilateral relations with the UK. He said that in order to celebrate 70 years of Pakistan’s Independence, the High Commission of Pakistan and all its sub-missions in the UK had outlined series of events. He added that the Consulate of Pakistan in Birmingham always considered it as its duty to work towards bringing British-Pakistani and wider British community together. Community cohesion and integration remained our top priorities. It was for this reason that we were always organizing one event or another: events that were not only beneficial for Pakistani diaspora in the West Midlands & Wales but also effective in promoting harmony in the wider context of Pakistan-UK bilateral relations. He specially thanked the Chief Guest Mr. John Clancy for making it to the event and Mr. William Tierney, President UKBFF for declaring the event as the National Qualifier event which meant that the winners could qualify for the Mr. UK competition.
Mr. William Tierney, President UKBFF, in his remarks, appreciated the initiative taken by the consulate. He said that this was the first time that any embassy or consulate had taken such an initiative. He also appreciated the quality of the athletes from Pakistan heritage and encouraged them to participate in the event. He offered his cooperation for any such event in future as well.
Mr. John Clancy, in his remarks, deeply admired the activities of the consulate. He said that during current times, sports were all the more important to promote health activities in any society. He said that the Birmingham City Council had always supported organization of such events. He thanked the Consul for inviting him as the Chief Guest and assured him of any cooperation that the consulate would require in its activities. He especially appreciated the format of the inaugural ceremony in which national anthems of both the countries were played and promotion of inter-communal harmony and soft image of Pakistan was outlined as the main objectives of the event in the address of the CG.
The event received good coverage in the media; especially the Social Media was abuzz with the hashtag #Azadi Celebration Classic.
It may be noted that the bodybuilding and fitness is a huge industry in the UK especially in the West Midlands and Wales. General public, especially the younger generations have a craze about this sport. The consulate will continue to organize such events in future as well.