Two Indians have been awarded by the cash-rich Dubai municipality which dished out gold worth USD 762,942 in prizes to contestants in a weight-loss challenge initiated by the Gulf emirate to fight obesity.
While Ahmad Ebrahim Al Shiekh, 27, an architect from Syria, lost a maximum weight of 26 kilogrammes and was awarded 63 grammes of gold worth 10,048 dirhams (USD 2,735), Ragoonath Balasubramaniam, from India, came second as he lost 23kg.
Balasubramaniam attributed the weight loss to solely switching to a healthier diet and hardly cooking his food in oil.
“I wasn’t eating a lot of junk food but all the food I had was deep fried with lots of carbohydrates, like rice. Since I started doing a daily exercise of brisk walking, I shed a lot of weight. I used to weigh 126kg but now I am 103.6kg and intend to lose more,” Balasubramaniam was quoted by the Gulf News as saying.
“I started the campaign while my wife and daughter were back home in India on holiday, and when she came back, she was so surprised to see the fit new me. Its hard to continue the diet when the family’s back home, but I will do my best to stick to it,” Balasubramaniam said.
Baltaj Singh came in third in the results announced yesterday as he lost 22kg of weight after he initially weighed in at 116.8kg.
“I ate only fruits and vegetables, and went out 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,” Singh said.
As many as 2,648 winners received 16.82 kg gold worth 2.8 million dirhams (USD 762,942) during the ‘Your Weight in Gold’ campaign launched by the municipality from July 19 to August 16.
During the contest, participants had to lose a minimum of two kilogrammes in weight to gain one gramme for every kilo of weight lost, the report said.
People who lost five kilogrammes and above were eligible to get two grammes of gold for each kilo, and three grammes of gold for every kilogramme for those who lost 10 kilogrammes and above.