3 feet 7 inches Caleb Mutombo battles with a disability but not with self-esteem and confidence. The young bodybuilder who may not suit the conventional stature of a typical bodybuilder has captured the bodybuilding sphere.
The seriously aspiring 1998 born bodybuilder faced a troubling childhood. He is originally from Congo but now calls South Africa, home.
Mutombo and his brother were born with the sickle cell disease. Some report revealed that the Mutombo brothers were abandoned by their parents. Without enough parental care, Caleb had to find a way to cope with life. He shares a strong bond with his brother whom he grew up with.
In fact, it was his brother’s treatment that brought them to South Africa. The two found a new home courtesy of a South African non-profit organisation called Kids Haven.
Sickle cell disease has a tendency of delaying the growth of its patients during puberty. However, it is not clear if that alone contributed to Caleb’s stunted growth. Having been hindered by undiagnosed disability, Caleb literally stopped growing at the age of 14.
The determined bodybuilder at 110 centimetres tall and a 40kg weight is not scared of competing with bodybuilders bigger and taller than he is.
The Johannesburg-based who goes through strenuous exercises to strengthen his muscle says and believes his height can not limit him from reaching his destiny.
As an ardent body trainer, he spends 5 days a week in his local gym in Johannesburg. He can squat 30kg (4st 7lb) and lift 10kg (1st 6lb). The strong personality says he strives to improve each day with exercises and lifting heavier weights.
Caleb Mutombo showed interest in weightlifting as a young child. He first started training when he was around the age of 12. He was inspired to start training after he and his brother talked about their bodies and how they would like to look very masculine.
Caleb started lifting just about anything he could lay his hands on, from regular household items to bags filled with books.
He started training in a gym at age 16 and has since competed in local bodybuilding competitions.
Some people have suggested that he went into weight training prematurely and that partly slowed down his growth. This is because a male can go on in height till he is about 22 years old, which means he had about six years of growing left before he was hindered by his training. However, there is no real proof supporting these claims and for the fact that his training only got intense when he was 16, the claims seem unlikely.
With his visibly, well-developed, abdominal muscles and bulging biceps, it is difficult to believe what Caleb went through before he got the body he wanted.
According to Caleb Mutombo, he definitely faced physical and social challenges when he started taking bodybuilding a little more serious. Amidst the negative comments and disbelief in him, he knew he owed it to himself to be the best he dreamed to be.
Instead of proving points to naysayers, Caleb is more concerned with inspiring people through his life, physical limitations and budding career in bodybuilding.
When he is on stage during a competition, Caleb concentrates on the judges and the cheering crowd and not on the body sizes or height of other bodybuilders competing with him. He centres his strength on doing his best and not measuring his body size against those of others.
His motivation earned him a body training sponsorship from Trinergy Health and Fitness. Ryan Manthe, co-owner of the fitness centre read Mutombo’s story in the papers and decided to find and work with him.
Last year, the young man came third in a local bodybuilding competition. He said having bigger competitors did not intimidate him.
Caleb says he does bodybuilding because he loves it and loves to see his body grow. To him, bodybuilding makes him feel full of energy and fit at the same time. His disability has made him realise his ability and he wishes to inspire people to stay healthy no matter what they look like.
Currently, Caleb is training to become a personal trainer and a professional bodybuilder that will go international.