One of Zimbabwe’s top bodybuilding competitions, Mr. Ironman, returns to the Zimbabwean sports calendar after two years of absence.
The Zimbabwe Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation says Mr. and Miss Ironman competition will be held on June 1 in the Mashonaland West town of Kadoma instead of its traditional Harare venue as the federation seeks to spread the sport around the country.
The competition was last held way back in 2010 when Vincent Kandiero won after beating then defending champion Isaac Kamuchenga. The contest has not been staged since then due to the non-availability of a sponsor.
Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation president, Otis Goredema, says with sponsorship now secured, they hope to attract entrants from neighboring countries like South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Malawi to add an international flavor to the contest.
This will be the first time this year that top bodybuilders will be flexing their muscles. Goredema says they want the competition to retain its old place as the first bodybuilding competition on the Zimbabwean sports calendar.
The federation boss says unlike in the past the competition will this year take a new dimension.
Some of Zimbabwe’s greatest bodybuilders, among them the late George Takundwa, a former president of the national federation, Innocent Choga and Givemore Maruma, are previous winners of the Mr. Ironman contest.
Apart from the Mr. and Miss Ironman competition, Zimbabwe also plays host to the Mr. and Miss Zimbabwe contest as well as the All Africa Bodybuilding Olympia, which have a huge international presence with the latter attracting participants from as far as Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast.
Goredema says the association hopes to hold the Mr. Ironman contest either in Bulawayo or Mutare next year as they continue with the efforts to popularize the sport.
Bodybuilding, just like many other minority sporting disciplines in the country, has been badly affected by lack of sponsorship due to the economic crisis facing many companies. The few firms that are doing well often opt to support established sports like football and cricket.