Manicaland Classic on tonight

MUTARE - The inaugural edition of the Manicaland Classic bodybuilding contest gets underway tonight at Holiday Inn Mutare with five categories set to be showcased by athletes.

The contest has been lauded as a welcome addition to the fledging sport’s rather thin calendar of events.

Organised by Manicaland Body Building and Fitness Association (MBBFA), the new event which is open to athletes from across the country is expected to help facilitate sponsorship for the sport by local businesses.

MBBFA secretary-general Sibangani “Siba” Guzha, who runs Body Focus Gym, one of the event’s top sponsors, said business has been warming up to the sport in the run-up to the muscle and fitness show.

“The corporate world and even churches have embraced it. Holiday Inn, Tanganda, Celebration Church, Kanloan Financial Services, Blue Tech and Spar Mutare are some of the entities that are supporting this event,” Guzha said.

He said while they are pleased they are still hoping for more.

Guzha said hosting the event at a top hotel was also meant to appeal to company executives to attend as well as show how professional the sport was being run.

“We really need this to be an exhibition of our professionalism. Our athletes can be used as advertising models by the corporate world and we want them to come in an environment that matches their class,” he said.

Guzha said he was inspired by the level of talent he was seeing in his gymnasium in pushing for the contest.

“We are trying to elevate our athletes to be appreciated and turn them into professionals. We can only do this by supporting it from the grassroots,” he said.

His gym groomed current Mr Iron Man Zimbabwe — Blessing Saunyama, who is also reigning Mr Manicaland.

Saunyama is expected to give the region strong belief in retaining the top gong.

Chamunorwa Marange, who is reigning Mr Zimbabwe Fitness, Mr Iron Man Fitness and Marume Classic Fitness, is expected to give other competitors a strong run for their money.

Brighton Mazikana, who was reigning Mr Manicaland in the previous five editions before handing over the reins to Saunyama and is among Zimbabwe’s top four body builders, is also expected to offer stiff competition tonight.

Sakubva Fitness Centre Gym instructor Charles Makukutu said the competition was a welcome additional platform for athletes to showcase their talent.

“It’s a positive development and the first of its kind. It’s good for our athletes and we all hope that it will help build potential sponsors’ confidence in us,” Makukutu said.

There will be five categories on show tonight — Junior Men Under-23, Men’s Fitness, Women’s Bikini, Power Lifting and Senior Men Open. Reigning Mr Zimbabwe Paul Goredema will be the guest poser on the night.

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