Gweru now a muscle factory

HARARE – Even when other companies closed in Gweru at the height of the economic meltdown, there is one factory that kept on producing.

Muscle and Fitness Gym, the muscle factory as it prides itself, still has its conveyor belts rolling out the likes of former Mr Zimbabwe winner Paul Goredema, the eccentric Isaac “Sugar” Chimuchenga and the vivacious current Ms Pretoria North Sandra Ncube.

Simba Fero is another prominent bodybuilder from the City of Progress which continues to churn out elite athletes capable of winning most of the local and region competitions.

Nigel “Spartan” Maphosa, Eddie “Gearbox” Mutero, Tapiwa “Pfuko” Sibanda, Prosper Mugariwa, Preston Chamunorwa, Enoch Mugariwa are the other notable bodybuilders that all have their roots at the Muscle and Fitness Gym.

The gymnasium is a family venture geared towards community development owned by the Vann Gopals, who pride themselves as having helped the Gweru community produce notable bodybuilders who have made a indelible mark in the industry.

“For us the gym was and is never about wanting to compete with anyone else. It’s about the Gweru community, it’s about fitness and it’s open to everyone,” Corinna Vann Gopal told the Daily News on Sunday.

“Here we have academics, doctors, lawyers, hwindis, sports persons, just anyone coming. But again we take great pride when you guys from the media take recognition of the work that we are doing and also how these bodybuilders have been great ambassadors of the gym and our Gweru community.”

Chimuchenga carries the emblem of the gym on his sleeve and brags that champions are made from the Midlands province and that the next Mr Zimbabwe is going to come from Muscle and Fitness Gym.

“I’m not bragging but we are going to produce the next Mr Zimbabwe. In fact it’s going to be Gweru versus Gweru in the future national contests, mark my words,” the brash Chimuchenga said.

“What excites me most is that we have managed to produce champions from that small gym. What we take great pride from is that as Gweru people, we feel bodybuilding is one sport that we have so much talent and puts us on the map.

“We might not have much but we have the determination to always come out tops and bring pride to our community. And we thank the owners of the gym for this great service to the community when there are no such people providing the service in the city.”

Goredema, who is vying for a title at the Arnolds Classic in South Africa later this month, feels humbled to have emerged from such a small gym to become a famous bodybuilder

“Muscle and Fitness groomed me with only the basic equipment that I built a foundation and realised what I like doing best,” he said.

“The facility not only has produced renowned athletes but houses people from different walks of life in the Gweru community.”

The facility has also produced ladies of distinction with Ncube being the notable female from Gweru, who has gone on to make a name for herself across the Limpopo.

“I have managed to live my dream because of the foundation that I had back home. You know having the right mentorship and training with the best bodybuilders in the country inspired me to strive to be the best,” Ncube told the Daily News on Sunday.

“Bodybuilding is our pride in Gweru and I really salute Muscle and Fitness. They should continue with their good work and have more champions coming from Gweru.”

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