£200,000 - HOW MUCH THE UKBFF SPENDS SENDING ATHLETES ABROAD

The UKBFF spent almost £200,000 last year sending competitors to overseas events.

The figure includes the cost of sending 41 athletes to the IFBB World Men's Championships, the World Fitness Championships, the World Junior Championships and the World Masters Championships.

More than 150 UKBFF athletes also competed at the Arnold Classic Europe, many of whom had the cost of their hotels and flights paid for. Some competitors were also funded to represent the UK at Diamond Cup events across Europe.

The figure has been released in the run-up to Sunday's AGM in Leicester, which will discuss the UKBFF's plans for the year ahead. The AGM takes place at Sugar's Gym at 2.30pm and all UKBFF members are welcome.

The new season begins in less than a month with the UK Nationals, where the top athletes can book paid-for trips to major international contests. Last year's junior bodybuilding winner, Joval Gordon, is pictured with runner-up Aiden Wainwright (photo by Christopher Bailey).

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The UK Nationals has been the springboard to some great careers – Ryan Terry made his debut at this event in 2013 and by the end of the year was a pro. Last year Marta Mila entered the contest as an unknown junior bikini fitness athlete and ended the year as a British champion and international competitor.

Win here and, even if it's your first contest, you could be lining-up in some of the biggest shows on the planet later in the year with the cost of your flight and hotel covered.

This year's UKBFF calendar has 18 domestic competitions, including the British Championships, which as usual are being held in Nottingham in October. Once again two events – the UK Nationals and Scottish Grand Prix – will be drug-tested.

Winners will qualify for:

European Championships on May 2-7 in Spain

World Fitness Championships on October 26-28 in Poland

World Men's Championships on November 9-11 in Spain

World Junior Championships on November 30-December 3 in Ecuador

Wold Masters Championships on December 7-10 in Greece

There are also THREE Arnold Classics: the Arnold Classic Brazil on April 20-22, the Arnold Classic Africa in South Africa on May 18-20 and the Arnold Classic Europe in Spain on September 28-30.

The UK Nationals, English Grand Prix and Scottish Grand Prix offer routes to the Arnolds.

All the above listed events are for amateurs. But this year also sees the start of the IFBB Elite Pro division, which already has more than $1m of prize money available.

The schedule includes 14 events in Europe, such as:

$200,000 Elite Pro World Championships in Romania in October

$100,000 Arnold Classic Europe in Spain (The Arnolds have pro as well as amateur classes)

$50,000 Elite Pro Greece.

The top 10 nations at last year's World Men's Championships were: Iran, Korea, Spain, China, Poland, Japan, France, Oman, Slovakia and Turkey. Russia won the women's event – these are true world championships – not events dominated by one nation.

UKBFF amateur competitors will get the chance to turn pro at the British Championships and at numerous Diamond Cup events in countries such as Malta, Poland, Italy, Austria and Ukraine.

Competing with the UKBFF means you are affiliated to the IFBB, the world's premier fitness and bodybuilding federation, as recognised by the Global Association of International Sports Federations, of which the IFBB is a member.

The IFBB, which was founded by Ben and Joe Weider and has federations in 197 countries, is also recognised by the Olympic Council of Asia, the Association of Pan American Sport Federations and some 90 national Olympic committees around the world.

As such, IFBB bodybuilding will feature in this year's South American Games in Bolivia and next year's Pan American Games in Peru.

So by competing with the UKBFF you are part of the world's biggest bodybuilding and fitness federation.