Inglewood man has some body to love

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 23/06/2014
Bodybuilder Phil Kuklinski
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ
MUSCLE MAN: Bodybuilder Phil Kuklinski.

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Reaching number one in the world feels good, a delighted Phil Kuklinski says after taking out the Mr Universe body-building masters title in Korea.

The 53-year-old Inglewood man announced his win on Saturday with a beaming photo on his Facebook page. "Well today I did it. I won Mr Universe," he wrote.

"It has been said that the Universe is constantly expanding, today I finally caught up to it and grabbed what has taken me a lifetime. "No 1 in the world feels good," he says.

The World Fitness Federation Universe Championships 2014 GNC Musclepump event was staged on Saturday in Seoul, South Korea, where he was named Mr Universe in both the 40-strong WFF over-40 and over-50 masters classes.

Kuklinski's New Zealand team of himself, Sue Bettridge (women's figure) and Alex Faulkner (teenage men) of Dunedin, also came out top. Iran was second and Australia third.

And not to be outdone, his daughter Lahni, 10, a Waitara Gym Sports member, also won the overall age group title at the North Island gymnastic championships in Tauranga at the weekend.

"A big congrats to my daughter Lahni who today won all golds and the overall title. Wow," Kuklinski says.

Back in New Zealand, his win has attracted multiple hits and congratulations. The event was live streamed for the first time and attracted 100,000 viewers.

Back from Tauranga yesterday, his wife Chantelle said the wins for both her husband and daughter in opposite hemispheres were very exciting. She just wished both events could have been in New Zealand.

"It was a pretty fantastic weekend, really," she said.

Unlike the Worlds, the Mr Universe event has amateur status so there was no big wad of prize-money to haul home, she said.

Kuklinskibegan bulking up for rugby and it led on to a 20-year career in bodybuilding.

"I was really small and started going to the gym to get bigger so I could take the knocks," he said. "I loved it and kept going."

He returns home on Wednesday, promising to shout his workmates at Ballance and gave his thanks to TSB Community Trust for the funding which made the trip possible.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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