Benard (Ben) Antwi from Kuusamo, Finland participated in the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) World Championships held in Santa Susanna, Spain in 5-8 November – and brought back a silver medal in Men’s Classic Physique.
Pölkky sponsored the 31-year-old athlete’s trip to the World Championships. Ben works at Pölkky’s glulam beam plant in Kuusamo.
So, how does it feel to be the runner-up world champion?
“It feels pretty normal, actually,” Ben laughs and continues: “I am happy, but at the same time I just want to stay focused and do my practice. The medal gives me motivation.”
“And of course, training for competitions costs money, so I am happy that my investment paid off – I got what I wanted,” says Ben.
”The competition in Spain was well organized, so it felt safe to participate despite the pandemic. We athletes stayed pretty isolated there, corona tests were made on site, and the body temperature of the participants was monitored during the competition. When I returned to Finland, I took a corona test first at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and then another one after my quarantine period, before going back to work. I stayed healthy through the trip, Ben says.
Finnish Championship gold from his first competition
Earlier this year, Ben won Finnish Championship gold.
“The Finnish Championships this year were my first competition, so I didn’t have any sponsors yet. After I won the Finnish Championships, doors suddenly opened to the World Championships in Santa Susanna. I am grateful for Pölkky’s sponsorship – the sponsorship made the trip quite a lot easier,” Ben says.
Going straight to the global top tier may be surprising, but it has taken 15 years of strenuous training.
“I have been training for a long time. I started lifting weights at about 16 years of age and have been practising actively since then,” says Ben.
“Last year I decided I would like to try competing. I found myself a coach and we started to work together. This year I was ready to participate in the Finnish Championships. I train four days a week, with separate days for legs, back, arms and chest. On my free days, I do only stomach workout.”
“Do the kind of exercise you like, and do it with focus”
What would be the runner-up champion’s advice to those struggling to find their own sport and stay active? How to find the energy to exercise after a long day of work during the dark winter months?
“I think you should do the kind of exercise you like, and do it with focus. Make a regular activity out of it. But don’t be too stressed about it, even if you someday decide to compete,” he says.
“My own motivation rests on the mindset that I just do my practice and then take it easy. If the competition goes well, I am happy. If it doesn’t go well, I just do my practice well for the next time. After all, everyone has good days and bad days. You just have to take it as it comes,” says Ben.
“At least for me, if I don’t get enough exercise, I get stressed and I don’t feel happy. After work, I sometimes feel tired but when I just start my workout, the tiredness quickly disappears. And if my energy levels are low, then I just don’t do high weights. You have to listen to your body. If you are too tired, then take it easy with the workout and try again another day.”
Now, Ben is already training for the Finnish Championships next year. If he is as successful there, as he was this year, World Championship gold will once again be in his reach. All the best for the next year, Ben!
Ben Antwi’s fresh IFBB Fitness World Championship medal in Men’s Classic Physique.