Allen Khumalo, Sports Reporter
THE Bulawayo Metropolitan Body Building and Fitness Association (BMBBFA) is seeking financial assistance to send competitors to the International Federation of Body Building (IFBB) Arnold Classic Africa slated for May 5-7 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Arnold Classic Africa is the biggest sporting event on the continent with participants across a wide range of sporting disciplines. It is the brainchild of Hollywood star and bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Competitors BMBBFA intends to send to the event include Mr Zimbabwe 2016 Paul Goredema, Shantel Greenland (Ms Zimbabwe Fitness Bikini 2016), Selina Manuel (Ms Zimbabwe junior) and Mr Iron Physique 2016 Pardon Dube.
BMBBFA organising-secretary Simon Gama, who is set to accompany the quartet to the Arnold Classic Africa as coach, said the association needs $2 000 for entrance fees and accommodation.
“These are title holders in the country so it will be a shame for them not to go and compete in this year’s competition. It is vital we ensure these athletes go and compete in the event, but we need assistance. The association is therefore asking for well-wishers to come forward and support,” said Gama.
Gama said those willing to assist can contact him on his cell number 0772857235 or deposit the money into Stanbic Bank account number 9140002767693 Broadchill Investment t/a Bodyworks Gym.
The appeal comes a week after five-time Mr Bulawayo Lovemore Munyamana withdrew from the competition, saying he could not afford the cost of dieting.
Munyamana came fifth in the Arnold Classic Africa and was the only bodybuilder from Bulawayo that was invited to take part in the inaugural event last year.
“This is sad because we are losing a lot of talent due to financial challenges. His (Munyamana) performance even impressed Arnold Schwarzenegger in last year’s competition. He was amazed saying how can an athlete from a small country like Zimbabwe come fifth ahead of American bodybuilders that have advanced training equipment,” Gama said.
The National Federation of Zimbabwe Bodybuilding and Fitness (NFZBF) will be sending a 25-member team to the competition.
Meanwhile, Gama said BMBBFA joins Africa in mourning the passing away of South African bodybuilder Vusumuzi Jiyane, who succumbed to cancer earlier this week.