Griffin Manda on Tuesday won his first Mr Zomba Bodybuilding Championship at Pajokala Lodge to end Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier Ophaniel Kanyenda’s two-year reign.
It has been a slow, but sure rise to the top of the annual contest for the 21-year-old who has been raising his game in the last four years.
He rose from fourth in 2016 to third in 2017 and runner-up last year.
When he walked on the stage on Tuesday, his simple appearance could hardly convince the patrons as that of one of the favourites.
However, the moment he started his muscle displays in relax, compulsory and free-style poses, he immediately became a darling not only to the spectators, but the judges as well.
It was without doubt that he outclassed 14 seasoned contestants, including runner-up Kanyenda, third-placed Chimwemwe Makwinja and fourth-positioned Thoko Kakhongwe.
“I am lost for words to describe my excitement with this victory. I really cherish this moment and it feels great to finally become a champion after years of trying,” he said.
For his feat, Manda took home K110 000, a cooker and a smart phone while Kanyenda, Makwinja and Kakhongwe got K80 000, K60 000 and K35 000 in that order.
On his part, Kanyenda said it was painful to lose the crown and he will engage an extra gear to reclaim the title next year.
In powerlifting division, Moses Mphinga was the overall winner after lifting 543 kilogrammes (kg).
He received K60 000 and a trophy.
Shepherd Chiteze finished second to get K45 000. Last year’s victor Kondwani Mauluka did not compete.
The event’s organiser Bright Limani, who is also Weightlifting and Bodybuilding Association of Malawi (Wbam) Eastern Region chairperson, said the event was competitive.
This year’s event was sponsored by a number of companies, including Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (Fisd), Exide Batteries, Kombeza Foods, Sanwecka Technologies, Metrosport, Bliss Car Hire, Knowledge Invest and H Adams Hardware.