'Bodybuilding is the future'

HARARE - The National Federation of Zimbabwe Bodybuilding and Fitness (NFZBBF) is moving towards establishing itself as an international body.

NFZBBF was in 2015 admitted as a member of the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) and this relationship has seen them send athletes to contests like the Arnolds Classic Africa.

The Daily News on Sunday’s Austin Karonga caught up with NFZBBF secretary-general Quite Shangai to find out what more is in store for the sport.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

Q: Why the name change from Mr and Ms Zimbabwe to Zim Nationals Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships?

A: I think as Zimbabwe we were among the countries which adopted the new trends in the fitness industry at a later stage probably because we had divorced ourselves from the international federation. Long back, it was just bodybuilding as in junior men, senior men and women. So the festivals would among other things crown Mr Zimbabwe, Ms Zimbabwe and Mr Zimbabwe junior. It was therefore appropriate to call the championships “Mr and Ms Zimbabwe”. Now we are crowning the Men’s Bodybuilding Champion, Men’s Physique Champion, Men’s Fitness Champion, Women Physique Champion, Women Bikini Fitness Champion, Women Body Fitness Champion, Women Beach Bikini Champion, Junior Men Bodybuilding Champion, Wheelchair Men Bodybuilding Champion, Masters Men Bodybuilding Champion and Children Fitness Champion for both sexes. In future, we will incorporate Classic Bodybuilding and a lot of other emerging genres. The biggest question is: Who is Mr Zimbabwe and who is Ms Zimbabwe? The other thing is this “Mr and Ms Zimbabwe” term sounds more like a modelling show yet bodybuilding and fitness is a sport. You actually develop a competitive physique through rigorous training and you require athletism among other things to be able to showcase that physique during a competition.

Q: What should we expect this year at the Nationals?

A: The Nationals mark the end of a season and it is at the Nationals that we crown the national champions; identify Team Zimbabwe for Arnolds 2018 and meet members of the NFZBBF congress to agree on policy issues and calendar of events for the coming year. On stage, it is going to be fireworks as usual. You can expect athletes’ truancy at any other event but not the Nationals. Nigel Maphosa, Ndumiso Dlodlo, Champion Chienderamwano, Paul Goredema, Blessing Nyapimbi, Simbarashe Dube, Shantel Greenland, Selina Manuels, George Munyoro, Simbarashe Nyamukondiwa, Masimba Nyamajiwa, Beloved George, Thabo Ngulube, Nigel Simango, Edvaldo Mateus, Tinotenda Ryan Gumbo, Shirley Spreeth to name just but a few are definitely going to compete. We have already sealed deals with Muscle Rage, Sweat Nation Fitness, Crystal Candy and Royal Flair events for these festivals. We are still engaging a lot more partners and we expect to be done by the 30th of September. The venue is 7 Arts, the home of the premier event since the days of Mhizha and Choga. We are also going to discuss how we can capacitate our Provinces. This is our main function; capacity building. As long as certain issues that should be known are not known, it will be hectic to progress. Where information is not shared, people resort to assumptions and standards deteriorate, resulting in system haemorrhage. We will address capacity building across all areas.

Q: How do you select judges? Is there any criteria?

A: Thank you very much for asking that question. It also allows the Federation to clear air because judges can make or break a show. In light of that there should be standards expected in a judging system. The Federation has what is called the Judges’ Commission which works hand in hand with a technical committee that has the National Organising Secretary and Secretary General. The Commission reports to the Board and together with the Technical Committee assess judges’ performance after a competition. The Commission is responsible for identifying potential judges, educate them, appoint them for a competition and assess them. The technical committee and the Judges’ Commission assess the performance of the judges’ as a whole. They will assess the results as announced to all other stakeholders. The Judges’ Commission assess the individual judges. However, there is a provision that if the results are so horrible the Technical Committee may request the sheets and also assess the individual judges so as to present a detailed report to the Board. In worst case scenarios, the “incompetent judge/s” may not be selected in future.
I thought it was ideal to first elaborate on how the Judging system operates. I will now respond to your questions. Judges should be selected based on the following criteria; One should be willing and able to judge. One should not be an active athlete (except for Novice and District shows). One should exhibit basic understanding of physique assessment through writing of articles, interviews with the Judges’ Commission etc. One should be totally independent. Obviously, one cannot judge his/her trainee, spouse, fiancé or training partner. This is something which gives rise to unnecessary complaints. Once noted a judge will be requested to recuse him/herself when a division where conflicts of interest are is being judged. Judges should never be exposed to the bench for the first time at the Nationals. That might have happened before but as a Board we have agreed that a Judge must be developed through stages as follows: White rated Judges; Those judges who have judged at Novice or District shows and satisfied the Commission in that regard. Silver rated Judges; Those judges who have judged at Provincial Shows and other events rated National but not the Nationals and satisfied the Commission in that regard. Gold rated Judges; Judges who have judged at the Nationals as a test Judge and satisfied the Commission. Platinum rated Judges; These are Judges who have judged as test Judges at the Nationals and satisfied the Commission. Platinum judges will be eligible for selection to judge the Nationals and are regarded as National Judges. One can be nominated to train as an IFBB International Judge after satisfying the Commission. Currently, we do not have an IFBB International Judge in Zimbabwe. However, we have a number of veteran judges such as Danny De Souza, Collin Mushunje, George Masters, Tobias Madzime, Quiet Shangai, Tendayi Chaipa, Kenneth Murugweni, Allan Panthasiz, Last Sthole, Alec Jaure, Shamir Ebrahim, Sibangani Guzha, Farai Verenga, Givemore Marume, Innocent Choga etc who have already judged at National events and satisfied the Commission and may not be required to go through the rigorous grading exercise but they will be assessed whenever they sit on that bench and if they perform dismally the system has no option but to degrade them.

Q: What are your last words to  bodybuilding and fitness fanatics?

A: Bodybuilding and fitness is one of the few sports where you find people from all races, creed, sex, background and religion competing, watching and officiating an event. It is therefore a good hunting ground for corporates. It also allows individuals to share experiences thereby developing as people. Let us all participate in the fitness industry because it is “the” industry.

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