I was robbed: Mushunje

HARARE - The future looked bright for Collin Mushunje after busting onto the local bodybuilding scene at a young age.

Mushunje was only 20-years-old when he won the Mr Zimbabwe Junior title at only his first attempt in 2000.

But only five years down the line, the budding athlete had turned his back on the sport that had given him fame at a relatively young age.

After dominating the bodybuilding scene for nearly five years, Mushunje decided to call it a day after he felt he was robbed of the 2005 Iron Man title.

“On Iron Man 2005, I think I was just unlucky to win the title. I had competed in five straight contests and placing in the top three prior to that contest,” Mushunje recalls.

“This was my worst contest ever at the Athenaeum Hall in 2005; I was clearly robbed of what almost everyone felt was a well-deserved victory for me. I came second behind Zumailer Eusen Mamman.

“This was the night that I decided that enough was enough, sadly I left competing although I loved the sport so much.”

Mushunje was pushed into the senior Mr Iron Man category by the late bodybuilding president George Takundwa, Kays Rushika and George Masters  a year after winning the junior Mr Zimbabwe while still a green horn.

He did not disappoint as he finished second runner-up.

“It was quite an achievement coming third because I was still a junior and from then onwards, I never looked back and I went on to win the middle-weight Mr Zimbabwe in 2002 and 2003,” he says.

“I also emerged as the first runner-up on the overall Mr Zimbabwe on three occasions.”

Mushunje decided to make a comeback in bodybuilding albeit in a different capacity. He is part of the National Federation of Zimbabwe Bodybuilding and Fitness board where he is the secretary for judges.

“My retirement came very early because of frustration with the administration of the sport and interference on the judging panel by then president,” he added.

“Quitting wasn’t the right thing to do for I still had a mission to accomplish which was winning Mr Zimbabwe but on the other hand I’m so proud of myself as I managed to achieve a fete which some of the guys my age will probably never achieve , though young as I was.

“I decided to make a comeback on a different angle as I felt I still had a lot to offer to the sport. The main reason being encouraging fair play on the athletes so that at the end of the day they realise that they are all winners.

“I also want to educate the athletes on the latest IFBB judging criteria.”

During today’s Mr Novice contest set for the Longchen Plaza, Mushunje will sit on the judges’ panel as chief judge.

“We will have a new look panel of judges as we look to expand our base, we wouldn’t want to have the same judges on each and every contest,” he said.

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