University of Pretoria (UP) Sports Science master’s student Muzi Maluleke achieved a goal he set himself ten years ago when he won his category during a recent Amateur Olympia bodybuilding competition in Korea.
From the day the UP SEMLI (Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute) student decided to take up bodybuilding, he dreamt of one day competing in the Mr Olympia competition, which he regards as the pinnacle of his sport. He will now be able to do so, as his victory means he has qualified to compete in the Pro League of the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (IFBB), which organises the Mr Olympia competition. If everything goes according to plan, Maluleke hopes to compete in the next two years.
"I am 27. Bodybuilders usually reach their physical peak in their late twenties to early thirties, although there is no guarantee that I will get to compete in the Mr Olympia competition, as only the top 20 bodybuilders in the world qualify to compete in the two respective categories.
"But I promise that if I do get to compete, I will aim to finish in the top six. I don't think any South African bodybuilder has been able to do so since 1994."
However, there’s much more to Maluleke than striving to get the perfect physique, as he is currently also busy doing his master’s degree in sports science and conditioning. He currently finds himself in a race against time to finish his degree, as he has been accepted to further his studies in Germany for five months. Thereafter, he would like to do his PhD.
"I constantly find that I must somehow prove to others that 'big muscles don't equate to having a small brain'. I have discovered it’s essential to find a balance in life and to set an example to youngsters. I take pride in being genuinely self-disciplined. I have learnt precisely when what needs to be done. It helps to set specific goals for yourself within a certain time frame."
Football is Maluke's other big passion. It’s what drives him to keep on studying.
"I aim to try and make a difference in South African football. For this reason, it is exciting to get the opportunity to study in Germany. They are, after all, one of the leading football nations in the world. I want to do research from an African perspective about what can be done to create our unique physiological football profiles.
"It is essential to create a minimum standard that players require if they want to compete against the world's best. It has already been done in America. Once the physiological profiles are in place, it would be possible to ensure that the South African football brand becomes more competitive and marketable."