HARARE – Some of the finest gymnasts in the southern African region have converged in Harare to battle for honours at the Zone VI Gymnastics Championships starting today at Belvedere Technical Teachers College.
Hosts Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Angola are the four countries that are battling for honours to be crowned the region’s gymnastics powerhouse.
Anna Brazier, the event’s public relations officer said: “Gymnastics Zimbabwe has been working tirelessly over the past few months to: prepare the team, train the judges and renovate the Belvedere gymnasium for this international event which will serve as a qualifier for the Africa Championships to be held in Pretoria and Cairo next year.
“The Zimbabwean team will comprise 52 gymnasts approximately one fifth of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Gymnastics Zimbabwe has been supporting children from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds since 1980s the sport have physical, social and academic benefits.
“Gymnastics provides children with an excellent athletic foundation for all sports through increasing flexibility, strength, speed, agility, stamina, coordination and balance.
“Regular gymnastics sessions reduce the risk of obesity, some types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases as well as improving bone density.”
Gymnastics has grown substantially as a sport in Zimbabwe since the 1980s and the country can now boast an experienced national team of 70 competitors and 12 coaches with a fully-equipped gymnasium.
Zimbabwe had a strong track record at previous Zone VI competitions, in 2010, the men’s Tumbling was crowned the champions.
In 2011, Kudzi Nyazvigo won the overall senior men’s title and eight gold medals and last year Zimbabwe’s Tichaona Gwenzi won the senior tumbling competition.