HARARE – Top local bodybuilder Isaac “Sugar” Chimuchenga’s is doubtful to make the trip to South Africa to participate at the inaugural Arnold Classic Africa at the end of this month.
The Gweru-based athlete has won several local accolades and regional championships including the Mr Ironman and Mr Botswana titles.
The internationally rated IFBB Arnold Classic is set for Johannesburg from May 25 to 27 and comes only in second place after the Amateur Olympia at the professional bodybuilding circuit.
“The picture is gloom, I’m not sponsored and everything becomes very expensive on my own. As it stands I will not be going to South Africa unless a miracle happens,” Chimuchenga told the Daily News.
“I have been preparing well for the contest but I haven’t heard any confirmation from our association in terms of funding and all.
“At the end of the day it becomes difficult for me even if I am to begin dieting for the show. It’s a pity really because I have put everything I could to make my body ready but fall short on sponsorship.”
Chimuchenga becomes the fourth high profile figure to miss the historic event should he fail to travel to South Africa.
Reigning Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year Helen Costa and her training partner Irvine Dekeya have decided to take a sabbatical from competing this year and will not make the trip.
Three-time Mr Zimbabwe winner Champion Chienderamwano is currently nursing a shoulder injury which has ruled him out of the Arnold Classic.
The National Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (NFZBBF) intends to take 25 athletes on board but have since sent out an SOS to other stakeholders to help them fund the trip.
NFZBBF spokesperson Quiet Shangai said the federation has covered more than half the ground but are left with transport and registration fees for the athletes.
“We have covered 70 percent of the requirements including accommodation, uniforms and part of transport. We are left with partly transport and registration fees for the athletes,” Shangai said.
“Registration is $250 per athlete plus 30 Euros IFBB international cards. Furthermore for an athlete to be stage ready he or she needs up to $2 000 for preparations depending with the division one is competing in.
“We are therefore willing to subsidise on registration to ease athletes’ lives. It is imperative for us to ensure that our athletes are able to participate at this year’s extravaganza. We are therefore appealing to the corporate world to come forward and support this national cause.”
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