Nairn strongman, The Malawian Monster, still aiming for the top after narrowly missing out on Scotland's Strongest Man title
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An Inverness strongman narrowly missed out on being crowned Scotland's Strongest Man.
Offshore worker Zake Muluzi, who is also known as The Malawian Monster and lives in Nairn, said he was leading the competition at one point but had a bad lift which knocked him back to third place.
The event was held at the SECC in Glasgow and was organised by Stuart Murray who Mr Muluzi described as the "godfather of Scottish Strongman" events.
He said it did not go as planned, as he had intended the win and added: "I ended up in joint second place, as I tied on points with another athlete, but was awarded third place due to the count back rule.
"You never lose, you only learn. I'm looking forward to having another go next year."
He said it had been disappointing on the day and a bitter pill to swallow.
He said: "Rules are rules and it is what it is. I had one bad event and it lost me lots of points on the table. Onwards and upwards for next year."
The 32-year-old, who was born in Blantyre in Malawi, has been training since he was 14 when he attended The Edinburgh Academy and started to play rugby – where strength and conditioning training was encouraged from the beginning.
He said: "I found that as a teenager I was naturally very strong and able in the gym and enjoyed it during my school career. When I went on to study marketing and retail studies at university I was scouted by the coach from the American football team because of my size and athletic ability.
"For a big guy I'm also quite fast at running, if I do say so myself, and was able to earn the role of team captain after a few successful years of playing for the Stirling University Clansmen.
"I enjoyed this part of my time at university, and met some great people and coaches who impacted positively on my life and mindset, especially when it came to weight training.
"It was a non-negotiable to be lifting weights as part of our weekly training session and I enjoyed this instead of the brutal running and sprinting sessions we were made to do."
He moved to the Highlands in 2013 and settled in Nairn, where he lives with his wife and son – Lindsay and Luke Muluzi – and regularly trains at Gym 300 in Inverness.
"I signed up for a membership at Gym 300 in 2015 and it was there that I met several other competitors in Strongman who signed me up to my first competition with two weeks notice and zero experience," he said.
"I placed third on the podium at Scotland's Strongest Man at my first attempt at any strongman competition. I threw myself straight in at the deep end and thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Normally strongman athletes begin their journey by doing novice competitions held at local gyms, but my first competition was the national final and it was a great experience. I have been competing ever since."
He said he has made the podium at Scotland's Strongest Man on three occasions now and has also competed internationally in the Strongman Champions League Circuit.
He added: "In 2019 I was also invited to World's Strongest Man in Florida. The Everest of the sport."
Mr Muluzi said he would encourage anyone to try Strongman and they should get in touch. He added: "I'd love to help you get started and help inspire the next generation of strongman athletes in the Highlands."
He said his Instagram handle was @zakemuluzi and that was the best way to get in touch with him.