CORDILLERA bodybuilding icon Simeon “Sammy” Domingo Ayochok recently succumbed to cardiac arrest, leaving not only the region in mourning but also the country where he has brought honors during his heydays as a muscle carver.
The news reverberated the social networking site Facebook following his recent demise in Shanghai, China where he has been working, since 2006, as a Senior Club Operations Consultant in MEGAFIT, one of the most distinguished fitness and leisure brands and the largest chain of gyms in China.
Prior to his work stint in China, Ayochok earned distinctions in several bodybuilding competitions here and abroad.
During the 1987 SEAGAMES Jakarta, Ayochok then bagged again another Gold medal for the country before winning another Gold medal in the Asian Body Building Championship in Singapore.
The 56-year-old bodybuilder first won fame way back in 1975 when he won the Gold medal in the National Body Building Championship junior division then followed it up with back-to-back Gold medals in 1976 and 1977 in the same national competitions earning for him the much-coveted Mr. PHILIPPINES title.
In 1986, posing in front of a massive Baguio crowd, he once again won the Gold medal in the ASEAN Body Building Championship. Sammy continued his winning streak in the international circuit by bagging Gold medals during the Asian Body Building Championships twice in Taiwan and in Malacca, Malaysia.
His Golden streak ended with a third runner-up finish in the 1987 World Body Building Championship in Madrid, but in five years’ time and in true Sammy style, the indefatigable warrior went on to capture another Gold medal in the 1994 Asian Pro Body Building Championships in Hong Kong; two third runner-up finishes in the 1994 Mr. Universe contest in Shanghai, China; a bronze medal finishes in the 1997 Mr. World Championships in Athens, Greece; and a third runner-up finish at the 2001 Mr. Universe contest in Macon, France.
Aside from his be-medalled achievements in bodybuilding, Ayochok also worked for several body-building outfits in Hong Kong as a Senior Fitness Consultant at Kenneth Ko Designs Limited; as Health Club Manager in Kowloon Club; as Senior Fitness & Project Consultant at The Raffles Club; as Sports Fitness & Recreations Manager at Hongkong Parkview Club and as Fitness Director at the Asia Fitness and Rehabilitation Center in Brookside.
Ayochok graduated from the University of Baguio after his primary and intermediate education in Bontoc and acquired health and fitness certificates from the Hong Kong Physical Fitness Association and Gym Tech Asia Limited.
Espousing the motto, NATURAL BODYBUILDING IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL SPORTS, Sammy Ayochok will always be honored and remembered as the fighting never-say-die Philippine Team athlete and coach who led the national athletes in bodybuilding to Gold medal finishes in both the South East Asian Games and Asian Games in four decades – from his mid-70’s triumphs up to his breathless awesome splendor in leading the national team to its last two Golds that clinched the over-all championships for the Philippines in the 2005 SEAGAMES Manila.
The remains of SIMEON “Sammy” D. AYOCHOK are still in Shanghai, China and is expected to arrive in Manila within the week for necrological and memorial services at the ASIA FITNESS, 10 Upper Brookside, Baguio City.
(Published in the Sun Star Baguio newspaper on July 21, 2012)