The American president and journalist, John F. Kennedy, once said “physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity”. That must have been in the mind of the Zimbabwean fitness champion, Zumailer Eusen Maman, when he decided to take fitness as a professional sport.
As a teenager in Kadoma, he was inspired by the popular Austrian-American actor and body builder, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Years later, Maman became a fitness champion – winning several awards in Zimbabwe and abroad.
To him fitness is the most important aspect of life as it helps people to fight conditions such as blood pressure, diabetes and heart attacks.
Maman has won several accolades, including Mr Novic Championship Zimbabwe 1995, Mr Profitness Classics Middle Weight Winner 2008, Mr Ironman Zimbabwe from 2001-7, Mr Whisky Black Southern Regional Body Building Competition 2006, and the Overall Winner beating contestants from Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Malawi.
He tells Business Times: “My journey started in Kadoma after getting some inspiration from people like my father and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1993 I saw a newspaper article that reported on a fitness competition that had the likes of Innocent Choga, George Munyoro and Edmore Munyorot in it. I trained hard because I wanted to be on stage with them.”
His confidence was boosted when he participated in an Ironman competition that was held in Chegutu and he won.
Contemporary societies have long since regarded fitness and bodybuilding as a hobby for fighters, but on the contrary Maman says it is one of the disciplines that encourage behavioural change.
He hopes to have his own fitness centre in Harare one day.