Mhaka's France trip in limbo

HARARE - Simbarashe Mhaka’s bid to compete on the international stage in France has hit a snag after the bodybuilder failed to raise money for the trip.

The 27-year-old athlete sent an SOS in his quest to raise the $2 500 needed for the airfares, accommodation as well as registration and participating fees but was not successful.

Mhaka won the Pretoria Classic male aerobic championships last month which carried the right to represent South Africa at the World National Amateur Bodybuilders Association in France this Saturday.

The local athlete’s counterparts for the Team South Africa are scheduled to leave for France this morning while he stays behind and lick his wounds.

Mhaka, however, remained modest and accepted his situation.

“It’s disappointing but it’s all part of the learning process,” Mhaka told the Daily News yesterday.

“I spoke to my federation on prospects of getting sponsorship and they advised me we were a bit late to be accommodated in companies’ budgets.

“But nonetheless, they proceed with approaching different companies as there was not harm in trying but we weren’t successful.

“I had set myself personal targets; one of which was to qualify for an international show at least this year, it came so early.

“I was excited but I still have a couple of shows to try and make amends. We have the IBFF Zimbabwe being hosted by pro-card holder Victor Hungwe, a worlds’ qualifier as well so I’m hoping I will be at my usual best again.”

The National Federation of Zimbabwe Bodybuilding and Fitness (NFZBBF) said they were saddened by Mhaka’s failure to compete in France albeit on a South African ticket.

Quiet Shangai, NFZBBF spokesperson said: “NFZBBF are very concerned that most athletes are going via the South African route to ensure that they get opportunities to compete at worlds in different federations. It is saddening to note that Simbarashe Mhaka managed to qualify for the WFF worlds via SA ticket but failed to get sponsorship for the trip.

“NFZBBF has a policy. If any athlete wishes to compete outside of Zimbabwe he/she has to be cleared. This is as per SRC Act and regulations. Simbarashe Mhaka was cleared for the Pretoria Classics which was used as a qualifier for the worlds.

“We requested a visa support letter from SRC and a clearance letter to assist him in sourcing sponsorship. We also approached other potential sponsors in a bid to assist one of our own but it was always going to be difficult considering that the same target is the one which we are expecting to partner us for Ironman, Health and fitness expo, provincial shows and Mr and Ms Zimbabwe.”

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