At the age of 12, Lionel Martin started training with weights, dreaming of one day becoming a champion. This dream recently came true as he was crowned South African body building champion and is now heading for the world championships.Martin participated in the International Federation of Body Builders South Africa event which was held in Mpumalanga. He was crowned the SA champion in the category for men under the age of 40 and in the weight category of under 75kg.“This was my first time competing on national level. I am very excited and am looking forward to representing South Africa at the world champs in Romania,” said Lionel Martin, owner of Swannies Gym in Uitenhage where he is a full time fitness trainer.Champion body builders from across the globe, including Martin, will be heading to the city of Bistrita in Romania, where the 2017 IFBB World Junior & Masters Championships will be hosted from 10th to 13th November.Martin will be part of the South African Body Building team comprising 19 body builders. They will depart for Romania on November 7th. Although exercising and fitness have been part of his life, Martin seriously started with body building eight years ago. He previously played rugby for Progress as well as for Uitenhage Police. “I wish to thank all who supported me and also a big thank you to my sponsors. They all played a part in this highlight of my sporting career,” said Martin.Martin has been invited to the 2018 Arnold (Schwarzenegger) Classic Africa which will be held in Johannesburg. About 10 000 athletes will compete in 45 different sports and events. The event will be held during May 18-20. Fund-raiser for trip to Romania As part of Martin’s fund-raising efforts to cover his costs in attending the world championships, an evening of fun and dance will be held on Saturday at the Uitenhage Indoor Sports Centre at 19:00. Les Simons as well as Children in Christ will be the performing artists. Tickets are R150 per couple (two course meal included) and are available from Lionel 079 289 2446 or Michelle 082 812 2590.