Manipuri bodybuilder Arambam Boby is one of the finest muscle heads India has delivered at the world level in recent times. At the recently concluded eighth WBPF World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship 2016 (29th November-5th December) held in Pattaya City, Thailand, he clinched his fifth World title in the 80 kg category. In the same category, he had two other Manipuri bodybuilders named Irom Roshi and Sougrakpam Bungcha as his competitors. Altogether, eleven bodybuilders from Manipur represented India in this championship.
The 37- year old local of Lilong Chajing Mairenkhong Leikai in Imphal West won his first World title in 2010 and that too after a gap of 22 years. He was the second Indian to have achieved such a feat. India’s Premchand Dogra won it for the first time in 1998.
Till date, Arambam has bagged 3 Mr Asia titles, 5 Mr World titles and 12 Mr India titles to mention a few. He has even won silver and one bronze in the World Championship. He could not earn a medal in his first World Bodybuilding Championship in 2003. But, he went on to clinch back to back World titles in World Bodybuilding Championship 2010 (Varanasi), 2011 (Malaysia, Malacca) and 2012 (Bangkok, Thailand). He is now the first Indian to win World titles for three consecutive years.
Arambam started off as a gymnast in 1989-90 and then shifted base to athletics and became a 100m and 200m sprinter. He then joined Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) as a constable under their sports quota programme in 1993, where the struggle to make it big in the chosen field was considerably reduced.
In 1995 he finally shifted his loyalty to bodybuilding and went on to win the Junior Mr Manipur (Overall Title) and Senior Mr Manipur (Overall Title) in 1996. His first coach was Khoirom Yaskul Singh who taught him the nuances of the sport. Later he joined Indian Railways in 1997 and trained under the Railways coach Mr Shambu Chatterjee.
Sadly, in spite of him bringing in so many laurels to the country, there is hardly any media coverage about him or bodybuilding as a sport. Nitin Mhatre who had won gold in the 55kg category in World Bodybuilding and Physique Championships works at a gymnasium to fund his career. This itself speaks volumes about the abandoned state of the sport and sportsmen in India!