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Striking it rich by burning fat

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Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality (left), presents top prize to Ahmad al-Sheikh in Dubai on Thursday.— Photo: AFP
Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality (left), presents top prize to Ahmad al-Sheikh in Dubai on Thursday.— Photo: AFP

Dubai municipality has dished out 2.8 million dirhams ($762,942) worth gold in prizes to contestants in a weigh loss challenge, an initiative by the Gulf emirate to fight obesity.

The “Your Weight in Gold” campaign promised one gram of gold for each kg shed, provided the contestants lost at least two kgs by August 16, when Ramadan ended. Gulf News said those who shed five kilos and above got two grams of gold for each kilo lost, while those shedding 10 kg and above were entitled to three grams for every kilo lost.

Ahmad al-Sheikh (27), a Syrian architect, claimed the top prize of 63 grams worth 10,048 dirhams after losing 26 kg.

Mr. Sheikh, who weighed 146.7 kg at the start of the competition, was one of the 2,648 winners who together received 16.82 kg of gold on Thursday.

The second and third place winners — both Indians — shed 23 kg and 22 kg, respectively.

Ragoonath Balasubramaniam came second as he lost 23 kg. He attributed it to solely switching to a healthier diet and hardly cooking his food in oil. He was quoted by the Gulf News as saying his weight had come down from 126 kg to 103.6 kg and that he intended to lose more.

Baltaj Singh came in third as he lost 22 kg of weight after he initially weighed in at 116.8kg.

“I ate only fruits and vegetables, and went for jogging on a daily basis for about 45 days. I want to continue this new lifestyle because I feel so much healthier and my stomach has gone down a lot,” Mr. Singh said.

During Ramadan, the faithful refrain from eating, drinking and smoking between dawn and sunset. But many tend to tuck in heartily after dark, despite warnings that overindulgence can be bad for the health.

Many Gulf countries are struggling to reduce the level of obesity among their populations. — AFP, PTI

The “Your Weight in Gold” campaign promised one gram of gold for each kg shed.


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