Pakistan has cancelled all body building competitions in the country after four prominent body builders died allegedly due to "excessive use of steroids" in the Punjab province this month.
Pakistan Body Building Federation (PBBF) has taken the decision to regulate the body building and fitness clubs across the country on the use of medicines.
"All body building competitions have been cancelled till the fitness clubs are regulated about the use of medicines especially steroids," PBBF President Farooq Sheikh said.
He said the federation has written to the clubs refraining them from using the banned medicine and from now on the federation would hold dope test before any competition.
The government's decision has come after the death of four prominent body builders - Humayun Khurram, a winner of a gold medal in the South Asian Body building Championship, Matloob Haider and Muhammad Rizwan and Hamid Ali, winner of bronze medal in South Asian contest.
Three of them died of sudden heart failure leaving a trail of questions about how the health clubs operate and what kind of food supplements they frequently recommend.
Most of the regular and recognised bodybuilders' associations deny encouraging usage of muscle-developing steroids.
However, they say individual clubs or trainers may encourage young builders use 'unregulated steroid'.
"Dietary regime is essential to the bodybuilding business and that also precisely the risk point. Because the diet is so essential to muscle building, food supplements (frequently steroids) naturally come into play," Tipu Sultan, who patronises Body Builders Association of Gujranwala Division said.
There is hardly any trained and educated dietician at most fitness centres and it is a totally unregulated market where everything and anything is available for money, the risk only multiplies for young people, he added.
"A lot of water is required with the usage of steroids. It is sometimes prohibited by body building coaches because it softens human muscles. All these factors cause huge risk to life. If the government can check shisha clubs, why can't it act against these health clubs?" he asked.
"The provincial government has directed the district administrations to look into the matter and take necessary steps to prevent such incidents in future," Salman Rafique, special adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said.
"We are trying to determine the actual cause of death of four body builders. Action will be taken against those involved in selling prohibited steroids," he said.