Libyan bodybuilder Kamal Elgargni has carved his own space in a sport that often favors younger athletes. In a recent interview with Ron Harris of Muscular Development, Elgargni shared his plans to step away from professional competition in the near future, laid out his 2023 schedule, and argued against bringing old legends back to the Masters stage.
Kamal Elgargni rose to prominence for his insane conditioning levels as a Men’s 212 competitor in 2018. He kicked off the season with a dominant win at the Arnold Sports Festival, which earned him an invite to the Mr. Olympia competition. Elgargni emerged as a dark horse of the division with a third-place finish in his Olympia debut, behind runner-up Derek Lunsford and 212 icon Flex Lewis.
Having narrowly missed out on the win, Elgargni got to work in the off-season and came back with a vengeance at the 2019 Mr. Olympia. His hard work paid off as he defeated Lunsford and two-time champ Shaun Clarida to win his maiden Sandow trophy.
The trio shared some of the fiercest battles on stage in a very competitive division that saw the title change hands each year after Lewis’ commanding run came to an end. Clarida secured his first win by dethroning Elgargni to second place the following year in 2020. Then, Lunsford edged out both Clarida and Elgargni to win the 212 2021 Mr. Olympia.
Elgargni made a splash in the Men’s Open division last year. He made his way to the 2022 Tampa Pro and turned heads with an impressive package. However, Akim Williams got the nod from the judges in a debatable decision that many felt could’ve gone Elgargni’s way. His next appearance happened at the Texas Pro, where he placed fourth as an Open competitor.
He joined forces with rising sensation Nick Walker for a grueling high-intensity upper-body training session last October. The pair motivated each other to push beyond their limits while working out their chest and biceps. A few days later, the duo was joined by former 212 Olympia champ Derek Lunsford for a heavy back workout in preparation for the 2022 Mr. Olympia.
The seasoned veteran returned to the 212 division for his final showing and placed third at the Olympia last December. Following the event, Elgargni teamed up with Lunsford for a taxing leg day workout.
Kamal Elgargni would love to do Masters Olympia if the prize is right, lays out 2023 schedule
In a recent YouTube video, Kamal Elgargni expressed his willingness to compete at the upcoming Masters Olympia, scheduled for August 25-27 in Romania, given the reward justifies the work.
“I would love to do the Masters Mr. Olympia,” said Elgargni. “You never know what’s going to happen in the road but yes it is a good title. We don’t hear much about it at the moment. We don’t know what’s the prize money. I hope they do something good that makes people [want to join]. At the end of the day, it’s a business. It’s work. It’d be silly if you’re spending more than what you’re getting. It’s a good title but it still should be a decent amount of prize money.”
The show’s organizers revealed the overall prize money for the contest stood at $229,000 this past weekend.
Elgargni is laser-focused on participating in the Men’s Open category. He detailed his planned schedule for Open competitions in 2023.
“I would love to do Tampa again because I live in Tampa. I would love to do it and win it maybe. To do the Olympia Open, no. I’m not thinking for the Olympia Open because the judges they’re not going to judge as small, young, what they call me in 212. Then, they’re going to judge mass monster. If the way they judge changes, maybe you give a try but I don’t think so. At the moment, I’ll do the Arnold, maybe the Tampa Pro as an Open, and then the Masters Olympia, that’s it. If everything goes well, I’ve done what I have to do.”
Elgargni hinted at retirement & argued against fantasy comebacks of bodybuilding legends
Kamal Elgargni does not expect to continue at the same pace for much longer. Although he’s proven to be one of the most consistent and disciplined athletes in the sport, he plans to retire in another year or two.
“It’s coming to my end that’s 100 percent,” said Elgargni. “As soon as I get my role in paperwork and everything I want to focus into business. I have a lot of business and money around me that I’m missing, so I need to get that done. I’ll be involved in the sports probably have the Kamal Classic show. I will definitely pay back to bodybuilding, what’s been around me, and what’s made me actually. But to compete, I want to see this year 2023, how it’ll go but maybe another year or so and it’s definitely going to be done. It’s not easy. It’s a lot.”
He left the door open for a potential return if he doesn’t enjoy the life of retirement.
“I would love to keep going. I’m going to get lost if I stop or whatever but you never know. Maybe I’ll just sort myself out, feel like I’ve done what I have to do, let’s give another go I’ll come back maybe.”
Elgargni weighed in on the fantasy comebacks of legendary bodybuilders such as four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler. He argued against the idea due to the disparity in effort and return for such established stars.
“No. What are they going to come back for? Especially these people now like Jay, they made their money, they have their own business. To be honest, at time, even for me like I’m doing it now with what I’ve got and my family and everything. It takes a hell of a lot from me. It’s not easy especially for someone who has a name and you want them to come back. For what, 20 or 30 grand? Jay would never go nowhere for less than 20 grand any events wherever. What is he going to get? He’s not going to do it.”
Kamal Elgargni recently announced his full-time switch to the Open category. The former 212 Olympia winner will no longer compete in the division he once ruled and will instead focus on leaving a mark in the Open with his stellar conditioning.
He’s gearing up for his next appearance at the nearing 2023 Arnold Classic, which is set to take place this weekend, March 2-5 in Columbus, Ohio.
You can watch the full video below.