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Little Johannes on the big stage
- Updated: July 15, 2009
By Mark Etheridge
He’s been to five world championships but little Johannes Hendriks still thinks the World Games, starting this week in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan will be one of his biggest stages.
The tiny Macassar, Cape Town,┬á bodybuilder will be the third South African in competition action when he takes part on Friday and Saturday. The two orienteers are first up, on Friday and Saturday.
Depending on how he does, he and team official Bill LaVergne-Slater believe he could come into contention for national colours as he’s the first ever South African bodybuilder to have competed at a World Games.
“I’ve been training for five months for this competition and am ready,” said Hendriks, a 51-year-old father of three before a training session in this sweltering Asian city.
“The last 10 weeks have seen me dieting very strictly to get everything just right.”
Getting it┬á “right” means a diet of extremely little or no fat, low carbohydrates and high protein.
“I also take very little salt and sugar,” he says. “I compete on Saturday and Sunday so from Thursday I’ll start carbo-loading.”
For Hendriks, carbo-loading will involve “heaps of rice”, something not exactly in short supply in this part of the world.
“Jungle Oats is also very important. But I’ve brought my own from back home. I wasn’t sure if they’d have any of that stuff here.”
Weighing in at around 63kg, Hendriks normally takes part in the 65kg bantamweight division but the World Games format sees him having to compete against opponents of anything up to 70kg.
“That will definitely be a factor against him,” says manager William Lavagne-Slater, himself a qualifed powerbuilding judge.
Hendriks will first compete at the pre-judging, where judges all but make their mind up over the medallists, and the next day sees the final stage.
Powerbuilders are required to do seven compulsory poses as well as another set of four standing poses.
“It takes roughly half an hour, but believe me, it kills you,” said Hendriks.
Hendriks, a senior supervisor with the city council in the Helderberg region, trains for two hours a day during the week and also finds time to supervise a weights workshop gym in the evenings.
“I started it myself,” he says. “It’s great to see the kids doing something with their lives and not getting involved with drugs or crime.”
The Games open officially on Thursday evening, going through to July 26, and the South Africans will be involved in 13 of the 26 official sports.