After flexing muscles for seven decades, Manohar Aich died on Sunday, four years after completing a century and barely 48 hours after Muhammad Ali breathed his last. But unlike the legendary Ali who had been afflicted with Parkinson since he was 42, Aich was fighting fit and hitting the gym even at 104! Aich, who earned the moniker Pocket Hercules for rippling muscles packed into an astonishingly tiny 4-feet, 11-inch frame, had served in the Royal Air Force and began his weight training in 1942, coincidentally the year when Ali was born.
A decade later in 1952, Aich fought off tremendous odds including bodybuilders who literally towered over him to lift the Mr. Universe crown under the amateur category. Five years later, an unknown Austrian called Arnold Schwarzenegger would win the same title.
It was Reub Martin, a British officer in RAF who introduced Aich to weight training when he was 30. Pumping iron with determination and without the supplements and steroids that bodybuilders rampantly use today, Aich soon sported a physique that others in the RAF were envious of. But it was in jail where he had been incarcerated for protesting against British oppression of Indians, that he seriously began weight training.
Born: March 17, 1914, Comilla District, Bangladesh
Died: June 5, 2016
Height: 1.5 m
Parents: Mahesh Chandra Aich, Chapala Sundari Debi