IFBB President Rafael Santonja promised the World Fitness Championships to be "exciting" ©IFBB/EastLabsPhotos

International Federation of Fitness and Bodybuilding (IFBB) President Rafael Santonja has promised an "exciting" World Fitness Championships, currently underway here. 

Santonja spoke before action began, with the athletes set to contest women's bodyfitness, physique and wellness fitness disciplines. 

"The World Fitness Championships are very important because we have great participation in the female categories, and this is great for gender equality in our sport," he said.

"This weekend in Slovakia we expect a very interesting, challenging and exciting event, especially with the incorporation of a new generation of athletes in fitness. 

"It will be a weekend of action and passion."

It is the first time the competition has been held in Slovakia, with the 2018 edition hosted by the Polish city of Bialystok and the French city of Biarritz welcoming the event in 2016. 

The IFBB World Fitness Championships are underway here in Bratislava ©IFBB/EastPhotoLabs
The IFBB World Fitness Championships are underway here in Bratislava ©IFBB/EastPhotoLabs

"We move events on our international calendar to different countries to give an opportunity for delegations to meet different national federations," Santonja explained.

"For the national federations, it is a challenge to accommodate so many guests from so many countries.

"We consider it worth it to take this path and every year we decide on a new venue."

With 370 athletes from 33 countries competing, it is one of the biggest World Championships yet. 

"The goal of the World Championships is not just the increase of athletes," Santonja said. 

"The World Championships is for the highest, superior level.

"So there is an increase in the number of competitors because more countries are reaching the competitive level for a World Championships, but the goal is to see the best athletes in the world and best teams in the world."

Competition continues tomorrow with the women's fitness, bikini fitness and the mixed pairs event.