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US-based Croatian becomes Bikini Pro Masters World Champion

California-based Croatian Meri Abbado (53) has become the IFBB Bikini Pro Masters World Champion for the first time. 

Meri won the Bikini 50+ and the Bikini 40+ at the IFBB Master’s World Championship in Pittsburgh last weekend.  

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“Five years ago, almost to the date, on this very same stage I became IFBB Bikini Pro at age 46. Yesterday, at 53 I became the first Masters World Champion!,” Meri said, before adding. 

“I am thrilled and proud of my latest achievement, but even more so grateful to be able to do this and to be a part of the IFBB Pro League. None of this would have been possible without few amazing people in my life. First of all, I would like to say big thank you to Gary Udit and the IFBB Pro League for creating venues for us Master competitors to compete and showcase our hard work. Thank you to my coach James for believing in me and guiding me through the process…you are truly the best. Thank you to my boyfriend Ron for his unconditional support, without which I could never train and compete on this level. I would also like to thank the panel of judges and the head judge Bill Sibilia for honoring me with this title.”

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Meri, who has won 16 IFBB Masters Pro shows and every single major show there is, was born in Split on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and has been living in Los Angeles for the past 30 years. 

“I grew up in Split and lived there until I left for Zagreb to study. This is where I met my husband. After we got married, we lived in Paris and Luxembourg where our firstborn son was born, and then eight months later we moved to Los Angeles. My ex-husband was a US citizen and he wanted us to raise our family in the USA,” Meri told us earlier. 

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Meri got into the sport at the age of 43 after working out to recovery from a hysterectomy. 

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“One day, while I was searching for something on-line, I saw a video of a Bikini bodybuilding competition and thought that that would be something fun to do. Also, I needed the motivation to stay on track with my own workouts and prepping for a competition was a great way to do that. I knew nothing about bodybuilding competitions and didn’t have a coach. I gathered all information about it on-line; diet, training and anything else needed to compete. Three months later I entered a local competition, which turned out to be one of the major NPC/IFBB bodybuilding shows. After that, I was hooked and wanted to do more,” she said. 

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