Everyone knows that ancient Egypt was one of the first advanced civilizations on earth, enduring for over 30 centuries and leaving behind incredible architecture and monuments such as the great Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, the Luxor Temple and the temple of Karnak.
Bodybuilding historians also know that some of the best champions of our sport hailed from this North African nation on the Nile River. There was Mohamed Makkawy, who at just 5 foot 5 and 170 pounds routinely beat much larger men throughout the 1980s, including a rookie Lee Haney, and was runner-up at the Mr. Olympia (all one open class at the time) in both 1983 to Samir Bannout and again to Haney in 1984. A name most of you probably don’t know is El Shahat Mabrouk, possibly the most accomplished amateur bodybuilder of all time. He earned his pro card not once but seven times, with five wins at the IFBB World Amateur as a middleweight, once as a welterweight where he also took the overall, and one last time as a light heavyweight. And though he is associated with Kuwait, since it’s where his entire bodybuilding career has taken place, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay was born and raised in Egypt. Finally, special mention does have to go to the late Nasser El Sonbaty, Arnold Classic champ and Mr. Olympia runner-up, who was born in Yugoslavia to Egyptian parents. Now, Egypt has given us another exceptional physique in the form of Mahmoud Al Durrah, or simply “Durrah” as he is known to both friends and fans. And when I say fans, he’s got quite a few in the Arabic-speaking world. His YouTube channel passed 500,000 subscribers a few months ago, his Instagram has 195K followers, and I can personally attest to the diehard loyalty of his fans. At the recent Toronto Pro, any time I would hop on the MD Instagram or Facebook pages to do some live streaming, the comments and questions were mostly about Durrah, regardless of who or what was on screen at the time. This is only his second season as a pro, and now the rest of the bodybuilding world is sitting up and taking notice of this 212 competitor with the combination of mass, aesthetics and condition to go far in the sport. CARVING OUT MUSCLES IN CAIRO
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