Selina cherishes family support

HARARE - Selina Manuel announced her arrival on the national bodybuilding scene with her victory at the Ms Novice contest in the women fitness category last weekend in Harare.

The Bulawayo athlete shook off serious competition from Harare’s Shake Your Sassy Gym’s Nicole da Francesca, who won silver, while Yeukai Kangadze from Mbare’s Stoddart Gym took bronze.

In the audience was Manuel’s mother Magdalene, who had travelled all the way from Bulawayo to be by her 17-year-old daughter’s side during her first national contest.

“It was awesome, we so happy. We were nervous because it’s her first time so it was a challenge but we happy that she won and we didn’t come all this way from Bulawayo for nothing; we have a victory,” Magdalene said.

“We do give her lots of support. We have been with her 24-7; taking her to the gym and making sure she eats the right food, sticking to her diet because it’s not easy.”

Magdalene said together with her husband they have made a number of sacrifices to supports their daughter’s bodybuilding career.

“It’s not easy between your busy work schedule trying to take her to the gym on time, it hasn’t been really easy but she has been training very hard,” she said.

“We wouldn’t be looking at going further because she’s still young and even when Simon (Gama) her trainer approached us about her taking part in the novice contest, it took us like two months to come up with a decision to sat let her do it.

“This is because we were concerned about her body, her being so young she’s still growing up and only stops growing at 21.”

The proud mother, however, reiterated that they would leave Manuel to make her own decision whether to take up bodybuilding full-time or take a different route.

“If she wants to pursue a career in bodybuilding we are there to support her, whichever way because she’s a sportsperson; she plays hockey and she swims so we just want to be there for her whichever way she wants it,” she said.

Magdalene encouraged other young girls to take up the sport as it helps to instil discipline and opens opportunities.

“Bodybuilding is disciplined and it also gives you confidence to all those girls that might be shy and you can achieve what you want to be in life,” she said.

“Some people are sent on scholarships through bodybuilding and with the times we are leaving now it’s very difficult to get kids at universities and if bodybuilding can do that for your kid why not grab this opportunity.”

Manuel, who trains at the Bodyworks Gym in Bulawayo, is grateful to the support she is getting from her parents.

“It was really intense and an eye opening experience, I enjoyed the competition. I’m hoping to take part in the Mr and Ms Zim in October,” she said.

“I want to be a personal fitness trainer. I’m still at school; I’m really athletic so I depend a lot on my sports so I’m hoping to do something in coaching and be a personal trainer when I finish school.

“I decided I want to do something different when I started going to gym, Gama actually encouraged me to take part in this competition.

“My dad at first was against it but then he was fine with it afterwards and now he’s in full support of it, I’m glad my mom was here with me, I hope to continue winning in future.”

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