Hey I just saw this article and thought I'd post it! It's kind of nice to see the media post something positive about bodybuilding!


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American Dream

Isaac Nsumba
Nsumba (L) with Victor Martinez, winner of the 2007 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Championship

By Douglas D. Bugingo
Posted Sunday, January 17 2010

Bodybuilder Isaac Nsumba achieved his dream at the local scene when he dominated headlines between 1997 and 2002. He holds the Mr Kampala record having won the title five times in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 before leaving for United States of America (USA) in 2004.

During his reign as Mr Kampala, judges always found no difficulty in selecting the winner as Nsumba stood far taller than his opponents including Steven Sserumaga and Ismail Mukalazi. However, the 35-year-old Ugandan now based in Houston, Texas, is yet to achieve his biggest career dream of becoming a professional body builder. “I am working extremely hard towards that goal and there is no doubt that this year I will achieve it,” says Nsumba, an ardent reader of monitoronline just like many Ugandans in the Diaspora.

Nsumba, who was christened African Gladiator by his fans here, has made two attempts at the National Physique Committee (NPC) professional qualifiers tournament with little success. His maiden participation in the NPC qualifiers in 2006 was a complete nightmare. In his second participation the following year, however, he registered tremendous improvement. “It took me two years of intensive workouts since my arrival here so that I could match the level of bodybuilders. By 2006, I was in shape to compete but still wasn’t very impressive. But the following year I managed a top-ten finish out of 60 competitors and that was a huge performance,” says Nsumba with a big grin.

This October, Nsumba who is married to an American, will make another attempt at the NPC qualifiers. He is confident of doing well and advancing to professional ranks. “I have to join pro ranks this year. It has been a long wait and I think this is the time. I have gained enough experience that can see me scoop the NPC title or register a respectable position that can help me qualify,” he remarks.

The NPC is an amateur competition and the top five finishers at this championship automatically turn professional, getting a chance to compete in several world bodybuilding contests including Mr Olympia and Mr Universe.
Competing in the NPC is a passport to joining the world’s strongest bodybuilding organization - the International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB).

Besides competing at the two most respected competitions in the world, joining IFBB opens doors for bodybuilders to get indorsements and contracts to act in movies.

Preping for NPC

Although there are still many months to the next NPC competition, Nsumba is not taking anything for granted.
He has embarked on a special training under the guidance of former professional bodybuilder John Shama.
“The main focus for the next four months will be on stretches, great band and tubing exercise, power training, core stability and abdominal strengthening, the former Nakivubo Gym bodybuilders explains. “Then I will rest for sometime before resuming two months to the event for the final training that will be basically on my weight and shape.”
His routine workout starts with a morning jog. He spends two hours in the gym before proceeding to work.

“I spend almost all my time working out because I am an instructor at a certain gym. That is what I do for a living,” Nsumba, a big fan of current Mr Uganda Ivan Byekwaso, adds. “I intend to go back home for holiday and I will make sure I go during a competitive period so that I can challenge Byekwaso. I have read much about him and he is a true champion,” Nsumba, reckons. “I think bodybuilding has gained momentum back home because I remember we used to compete for pride but nowadays, I see guys taking home money and cars. I think this is a good motivation factor.”
If he can finish in the top five at the NPC, Nsumba will become the first ever Ugandan bodybuilder to turn professional.

Isaac Nsumba
Nsumba with a female friend in Texas

History of The Sport

The sport of bodybuilding in Uganda started in 1965. Ross Hansan, the then managing director of Securiko Uganda (a private security company), Shakib, a Pakistani and accountant with the same company, and Muhammad, an Indian, were among the pioneers of bodybuilding in Uganda. The first edition of Mr Kampala was won by the contemporary Charles Kasasa in 1984. Bodybuilding got a boost in the late 60s when Indian national Gandesha opened up a gymnasium at his Kampala Silver Springs Hotel. A national weight-training gymnasium was also set up within Nakivubo Stadium premises in the early 70s. Visits by bodybuilding greats like Samson of Greece in 1971 and the Nigerian duo of Mike Power and Super Dragon, helped improve the popularity of the sport in Uganda.

Having won over many fans, Power visited Uganda again in 1974, with a group of famous wrestlers from different parts of the world. Bodybuilding competitions took off in the mid-70s, and by the early 80s, Uganda was in position to field athletes in regional and international competitions. In the first All Africa Bodybuilding Championship held in Nairobi in 1983, a number of Ugandan bodybuilders were within the medal brackets of their respective weight categories.
Charles Kasasa won silver while James Onyango, Manchester Bogere (RIP) and Ibrahim Mukiibi (RIP) all got bronze. A year later, Charles Kasasa performed brilliantly at the 1984 Mr Universe held in Brussels.Since the late 80s, bodybuilding competitions have been held regularly in Uganda. Mr Kampala and Mr Uganda are the national open and senior amateur championships respectively.

Local and regional invitational competitions are also organized from time to time. The need for an effective administration was recognized in 1972, with the founding of the Uganda Federation of Bodybuilders (UFBB).
With a more active role and an improved administrative mechanism, the federation became the Uganda Bodybuilding Association (UBBA) in 1996, which was renamed the Uganda Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (UBBFA) in February 2008.

Over the last two decades, Uganda has produced good bodybuilders who have performed impressively at national and regional level. At the 1999 All Africa Bodybuilding Championship in Assiut, Egypt, Uganda finished second overall behind the hosts. Robert Ssejombwe, Alex Yawe (both now based in USA ) and Ismail Sekandi were part of the Ugandan team.

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