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Andrew Thomas Mlugu hoping for second Olympic Games

Andrew Thomas Mlugu hoping for second Olympic Games

8 May 2024 18:00
Tamara Kulumbegashvili - IJF

Andrew Thomas Mlugu (29), hailing from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is trying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris and currently on a continental spot for his country. He strives to leave his mark on the international stage. Mlugu's journey into judo began in 2004 at the Umoja Judo Club in Dar es Salaam, driven by a desire to stay fit and protect himself from adversity.

Despite facing challenges early on, including bullying at school, Mlugu (his family name) found solace and strength in judo, a sport that not only transformed his physique but also instilled in him the values of discipline and perseverance. Under the guidance of his coach, Innocent Mallya, Mlugu honed his skills and embarked on a path to excellence.

Mlugu's determination and dedication bore fruit as he represented Tanzania on numerous prestigious platforms, including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where he represented his country for the first time at this stage in the -73kg category. Although facing stiff competition, Mlugu's participation in events like the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the three African Games participations has been instrumental in shaping his journey as a judoka.

One of Mlugu's most notable achievements came at the 2023 African Open Dakar, where he secured a silver medal in the -73kg category, signaling his emergence as a formidable contender in African judo circles. His stellar performance garnered attention and admiration, motivating him to strive for even greater heights in the sport. 

Despite setbacks and challenges, including injuries and tough losses, Mlugu remained undeterred in his pursuit of excellence. His motto, "Don't give up, continue to push until you succeed," reflects his resilience and determination to overcome obstacles in his path.

Beyond his athletic pursuits, Mlugu serves as a Tanzania Prison Officer, balancing his professional duties with his passion for judo.

Inspired by judo legend Toshihiko Koga, a two-time Olympic medallist known for his impeccable technique, Mlugu aspires to emulate his idol's success and leave a lasting mark. His favourite throw is of course Koga’s seoi-nage. To achieve he is every now and then on a training camp such as now in France nearby Rouen.

Perhaps we will see the prison officer in action for a second time at the Olympic Games. His Tiktok account will only grow, in this moment he has 39,000 followers, more than any judo venue can bear.

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