HAVING claimed Mr Sarawak title three times, by itself, is already a proud accomplishment to many.
That was also the case for seasoned bodybuilder Malvern Abdullah, the state champion from 2011 to 2013.
So when the 39-year-old lecturer from Universiti Teknologi Mara Kota Samarahan Campus was named the Under-70kg “Champion of Champions” (CoC) at the 2014 Mr Malaysia competition in Putrajaya last Sunday, it left him stunned.
“It was unbelievable,” he told The Star in Kuching.
“I was beyond elated. The other contenders were very competitive. However, I’m very thankful for this win. Moreover it came just two weeks after my third child Malzain was born. (It) could’ve been his fortune that is rubbing off on me,” the proud father quipped.
Although considered a late bloomer — Malvern only got involved in the sport when he was 28 — the Kuching muscleman has gained a wide recognition in the bodybuilding fraternity.
Between 2005 and last year, he managed to secure a spot among the top five in every Mr Malaysia outing.
This year, however, has been a great one. Apart from winning the Lightweight category and Under-70kg CoC title, Malvern was also named “Best Poser” at the finals.
“My most cherished moment was winning the Lightweight category; not only did I get the gold medal, but also it was presented to me by my idol and close friend, nine-time Mr Universe champion, Sazali Samad.
“Nothing can beat that feeling — well, except seeing the birth of my children, of course,” he laughed.
“I have a lot of people to thank to — my family, friends, my sponsor Phoenix Gym and the people in Sarawak Bodybuilding Association.”
While it was a memorable victory for Malvern, the Putrajaya outing also marked a historic moment for the Sarawak contingent when they were named overall champions
Of the 12 categories, the state squad competed in eight. Out of this, Sarawak topped four categories, namely Flyweight, Bantamweight and Heavyweight through Joseph Ladi, Densi Runya and Eddie Chan, respectively.
This year’s Mr Sarawak, Awang Mohd Azizul Ghani and team-mates Jeremiah Rukong, Wilfred Harding, Donny Fam and Nolan Chee Chean Syze could only manage fourth place in their respective Light Middleweight, Middleweight, Bantamweight, Light Heavyweight and Masters categories.
Sri Aman representative Mohd Sani Sanawi did not make it to the finals.
In the Above-70kg CoC showdown, reigning Mr Miri, Chan had to concede to Johor’s Ragunathan Nithiyanantham for the title.
Sarawak bodybuilding training adviser George Awi believed that this year’s feat was truly an “amazing” one.
“We have never won overall! I think our best past achievement was placing second in 2011. Tonight’s (Sunday) victory is really a celebration for us all, especially for my assistant Lim Kook Soon who has been working so hard.”
Asked on what he thought of Malvern’s win, George said it was a well-earned feat.
“I know how he feels. I was Mr Malaysia Under-70kg champion twice — in 2004 and 2011.
“It’s a proud moment for Sarawak bodybuilding, and I hope Malvern would continue bringing it next year and thereafter,” he said.
For Malvern, he believed that the time had come for him to give it a go at international competitions.
“Like I said, Sazali has always been my icon. I want strive for what he has achieved so far.
“This win, and Sazali’s words of encouragement, are my motivation,” said the brawny lecturer.