The Sunday Mail
Deputy Sports Editor
INCLUSIVITY will be the buzzword at the Ironman Festival in Kadoma this weekend.
Once touted as one of the country’s premier bodybuilding contests, the competition makes its return after a five-year hiatus and has been slated for May 28 at a Kadoma hotel.
The festival is set to attract over 100 athletes that will take part in a variety of activities, which will be headlined by the bodybuilding event.
Also on the cards is a half-marathon, golf competition, tug of war, volleyball and strength-and-fitness challenges.
In fact, strength-and-fitness challenges have already been introduced by the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB), with the first competition scheduled for this year’s Asian Games.
However, the Ironman competition remains the headline act and a US$5000 purse has been set aside for the overall winners.
Odyssey Hotels and Collide Zimbabwe have come in as sponsors, with the latter bankrolling the new activities.
Festival director Givemore Marume said while most men are sure to be catered for by the new activities, organisers have increased the number of categories for women in a bid to encourage more participation.
“We are encouraging female participation by introducing new categories at national level, and the programme will encompass the Ironman Festival,” said Marume.
“We have the Wellness category, Women’s Fitness Bikini and Physique Fitness. We have spread them out so that everyone can be given the chance to compete.
“So long as they are trained and look toned, regardless of their thigh size, they will fit into the wellness category.
“Those that are slim and toned will fit into the Women’s Bikini Fitness, while those that have gone a step further to develop visible muscles will qualify and compete in the Women’s Physique Fitness category.”
Marume is no stranger to the competition and remains one of the most decorated Ironman champions, with six straight titles between 1993 and 1998.
The 49-year-old spent the last couple of weeks driving between Harare and Kadoma organising the competition.
“Preparations have been going on very well, we still have a couple of trips to Kadoma through which we intend to deliver equipment that has been designated for the strength-and-fitness challenges,” Marume said.
“Other than that, most of the technicalities are already being sorted, with the exception of training of ushers and final mapping.
“These will be done just before the festival begins.
“In terms of reception from the bodybuilding community, it has been overwhelming and we already have a few surprises in store for those that make it to Kadoma.”
Veteran female bodybuilder Regina Jonga, who will be a guest poser, is among the headline acts.
Other big names confirmed for the event include Edward Mutero, Mark Anthony Valisatos, Gideon Teguru, Francis ‘Tatanca’ Chideme, CC Banks and Paul Bako in the men’s category, while Lynnette Tom and Chantelle Bhatch are among those competing for the women’s honours.
Mutero is the current national bodybuilding light heavyweight champion, while Valisatos is the reigning national bodybuilding heavyweight champion.
Teguru holds the Harare Classic bodybuilding title, while CC Banks is the reigning Arnold Classic Physique over 178cm champion.
Aaron Musarurwa, who won the last Manicaland Classic junior bodybuilding category, is also expected to grace the event.