Young gymnasts from over 20 schools and clubs in Harare are preparing for their biggest competition of the year. At the weekend, over 250 gymnasts competed in the Pre-Nationals in their various disciplines, looking to progress to the National Championships to be held at Belvedere Teachers Training College in four weeks time.
Historically a somewhat elitist sport, owing to the need for specialised equipment in some disciplines, as well as highly trained coaches, gymnastics in Harare has been gaining popularity in recent years. Gymnastics worldwide has grown to encompass not only artistic and rhythmic gymnastics (picture perilous acrobatic feats on bars and beam for the former, and skilful manipulation of hoops and ribbons for the latter), but also trampoline, tumbling and aerobics. With less equipment required for some of the newer disciplines, and with a number of qualified coaches emerging from Zimbabwe’s programme, gymnastics in all its forms is finding its way into more and more schools in the capital.
Of particular importance to some of the young gymnasts who will compete in the upcoming National Championships, is the fact that high scores could earn them a place in the national development squad which will prepare for the Zone VI Championships at the end of the year. Each year, gymnasts from several countries in the region compete against each other for the honour of the Zone VI title. This year, in December, the competition will be hosted in Harare. For many of the younger participants in the National Championships, however, the focus is on the here and now – the opportunity to show family and friends the skills they have been working hard to master all year.
To see some of the amazing feats of acrobatics and co-ordination the human body can achieve, join the gymnastics community for the Zimbabwe National Championships at Belvedere Teachers Training College on 3 August. However, it may be moved to 27 July, same venue, owing to upcoming elections.
For confirmation of the date and more information on gymnastics activities in Harare, contact: [email protected].