Dubai gears up to groom world's strongest men
Hafthor Bjornsson, popularly known as 'The Mountain' from the hit TV series 'Game of Thrones'
The first athlete to take part in the WUS Incubator program is American athlete Larry Wheels.
Dubai is not just about constructing the biggest structures and tallest buildings but is also grooming the world's strongest men.
The Dubai Sports Council (DSC) has launched on Monday the World's Ultimate Strongman (WUS) incubator program - "an innovative, intensive training program to take athletes with potential and turn them into world beaters."
Based in Dubai, the program will see athletes from all over the world travel for an opportunity to elevate their level of performance to compete with the best on the planet, according to the DSC.
"All the trainings, coaching, accommodation, rehabilitation and recovery will be taken care of by the DSC to provide the atheletes the the very best learning and development environment."
The initiative further reinforces Dubai's status as the home of strongman, following the hosting of the World's Ultimate Strongman in October last year, DSC added.
No less than the reigning world's strongest man, Hafthor Bjornsson, nicknamed Thor and more popularly known as 'The Mountain' in the hit TV series Game of Thrones, was on hand to flex his muscles and launch the program at the DSC headquarters.
DSC secretary-general Saeed Hareb said: "We are pleased to see Bjornsson supporting this visionary initiative with his presence. We are confident we will see many strongmen come through this Incubator programme in the coming months and years. My best wishes to everyone involved."
The first athlete to take part in the WUS Incubator program is American athlete Larry Wheels. A power-lifter, 24-year-old Wheels can routinely lift over 800 lbs on his squat, 850 on deadlift and more than 600 on his bench press.
Wheels will be trained by Bjornsson.
WUS founder Mark Boyd said: "The WUS Incubator is a unique addition to the world of strongman, and it is only fitting it takes place in Dubai - the city that is leading the way when it comes to the sport's development.
"We want to give athletes with potential the training, knowledge and know how to help them on the path to becoming the best in the world. Whilst in Dubai, they will be in the perfect training environment, with top level coaching, and expertise to maximise nutrition and recovery," Boyd added.
No GoT spoiler but here are some tips from The Mountain
Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane or Hafthor Bjornsson in real life did not spill any spoilers for the highly-anticipated final season of the hit TV series Game of Thrones (GoT).
"It's (GoT) gonna be amazing!" He told Khaleej Times.
He did not say if the much-hyped Cleganebowl (The Mountain versus his younger brother Sandor in GoT) will happen. But the reigning world's strongest man, who is also called Thor by his friends, shared some tips on how to become a strong man in real life like him.
"You should have the right training and mindset. You have to be very consistent and have the right mindset - it's not just about physical strength but mental prowess, speed and discipline as well. All these components you need to have to become one of the strongest men," said Bjornsson, who stands at 6 ft 9 inches and weighs around 193 kg.
At the World's Ultimate Strongman championship held in Dubai last year, Bjornsson bested 12 other bulky athletes by easily doing a 520kg deadlift.