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'Persian Wolf': Iranian bodybuilder Hadi Choopan wins Arnold Classic title

Hadi Choopan (R), winner of the 2024 Arnold Classic bodybuilding title held in Columbus, Ohio, between February 29 and March 3. (Photos by Arnold Sports Festival)

Known as ‘Persian Wolf’, Iran’s bodybuilding champion Hadi Choopan has added another feather to his cap by winning the Arnold Classic title in the 2024 Arnold Sports Festival that wrapped up on Saturday.

The second-most prestigious prize in the world of bodybuilding, the Arnold Classic is named after legendary American bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It is part of the Arnold Sports Festival and was founded in 1989 to honor the world’s best bodybuilders.

Choopan was one of the decorated bodybuilders from across the world competing in the premier event held in Columbus, Ohio, between February 29 and March 3.

His main opponent was Samson Dauda, a Nigeria-born professional bodybuilder who currently lives in the UK. Dauda has won many coveted bodybuilding titles in recent years.

However, it was the Persian Wolf’s night on Saturday as he won the top honor in the first attempt.

In a much better condition this year, Choopan put up an impressive performance to snatch the title from defending champion Dauda and pocketed the prize money of $300,000.

Hadi Choopan with the Arnold Classic 2024 trophy.

The Iranian bodybuilder was handed over the trophy by Schwarzenegger himself, who announced that prize money for the next edition of the competition would increase to $500,000.

The two decorated athletes also shared the extra $10,000 prize money. Dauda won the Ed Corney Best Poser Award while Choopan bagged the Franco Columbu Most Muscular Award. 

Choopan grabbed headlines across the world after winning the prestigious title of Mr. Olympia in 2002. In 2023, he ended up as the runner-up.

He will be returning to the Mr. Olympia contest in Las Vegas in October 2024 and is seen as a formidable contender to dethrone reigning Mr. Olympia champion Derek Lunsford of the US.

Final results for the Arnold Classic 2024:

  • First Place: Hadi Choopan
  • Second Place: Samson Dauda
  • Third Place: Rafael Brandao
  • Fourth Place: Jon Delarosa 
  • Fifth Place: James Hollingshead
  • Sixth Place: Akim Williams

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