BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
IT was all for fun when female bodybuilder Regina Jonga took up the sport at Mbare’s Matapi Gym back in 2012.
Seven years on, Jonga has not just turned professional, but is already fine-tuning for her first professional competition, the 2019 WFF Mr and Ms Universe bodybuilding tournaments, which is set for Seoul, Korea, on June 22 and 23.
Jonga’s story is an inspiring one considering that she only started bodybuilding at mature age of 35 and went on to scoop a lot of titles locally, including Ms Zimbabwe and Iron Man.
The 42-year-old athlete also won several titles in South Africa, where she also worked as a housemaid to sustain herself in the sport and also look after her two teenage children Natasha and Nicole.
Two months ago, she emerged the overall winner at the Tera InterContinental 2019 WFF Pro Championship in Shanghai, China, to earn her pro card.
And now that her dream to become a pro and compete at big international tournaments has come true, but it has its own trials.
“It means a lot to me because I have always been praying to become a pro since I started bodybuilding. I am excited about the opportunity to compete with the best in the world for the first time, but then I need about US$4 000 for the Ms Universe trip to be a success,” Jonga told The Sports Hub in an interview last week.
“I have already started my preparations for Korea and my boss and manager Joshua Rudziva of Iron Lion Nutrition and Supplements is helping me with supplements and diet food. My problem is air tickets, accommodation and registration for the event,” she added.
The former Ms Zimbabwe champion will compete in the Pro Line category.
Other top female bodybuilders with pro-cards in the country include Carla King, Tarryn Heather and Mitchelle Fortman.
A serial winner in the sport, Jonga is looking to immediately get off the mark in her professional medal collection as she pursues the dream to qualify for Olympia.
“My target is to win in Korea and keep going until the day I qualify for Olympia, which is the biggest bodybuilding event in the world. Qualifying for Olympia is my ultimate dream now,” Jonga said.
Jonga took time to look back to where it all started.
“When I look back at my journey in bodybuilding, I never thought I would become a pro. When I started, it was just for fun, but now I am doing it full-time and making a living. My journey was tough. At some point I had to work as a maid, but I thank God for giving me strength to work to be who I am today,” she added.
Currently on a zero carbohydrate diet as she tries to build a body that will win her the title in Korea, Jonga has to make-do with chicken breasts, hake fish, oats and green vegetables, among other things.
At 42, Jonga feels that she still has five years in the sport.