As we reach the end of 2013 and tortured teenagers are up to their ears in public examinations while parents wearily prepare for the Christmas holidays, Harare is already buzzing with preparations for hosting the Zone VI gymnastics championships. This is an exciting and hotly contested regional competition to be held at Belvedere Technical Teachers College gymnasium from 11 to 13 December. Participants and gymnastics fans will be flocking from all over Southern Africa with more than 300 gymnasts coming from Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Lesotho and Mozambique.
At the Zone VI competition you will see men’s and women’s artistic sections using apparatus such as the high bar, parallel bars, pommel horse and balance beam as well as floor displays. But there will be many other disciplines on show too – the rhythmic section with gymnasts manoeuvring balls, hoops, clubs and ribbons in time to music. In the trampoline events competitors will be performing pike, tuck or straddle positions, somersaults and twists reaching up to 10m. Gymnasts competing in the tumbling events will perform eight skill sequences of twisting somersaults, handsprings and whips with only their feet and hands touching the track. Spectators can also enjoy watching gymnastic aerobics competitors performing complex and high-intensity movement patterns to music.
The national team has done well in previous years. The men’s tumbling team won their event in the 2010 Zone VI competition held in Harare. In 2011 in Pretoria, the Junior Aerobics team won a gold medal while Kudzi Nyazvigo won eight gold medals and the overall Senior Men’s title. Last year, in Namibia, Tichaona Gwenzi won the senior tumbling competition and is set to win the title back this year. This is the biggest gymnastics competition in Southern Africa for the year and winners qualify for the Africa Championships 2014, which will be held in two sections, one in Pretoria and the other in Cairo.
The national gymnastics’ governing body is busy preparing 80+ gymnasts and 12 coaches with intensive training sessions as well as running courses in competition judging facilitated by international judges. The competition will open on 11 December in a spectacular show with over 2,800 invited guests, including local and international dignitaries.
But it is not all glamour. A lot of behind the scenes work is in full swing to get the equipment and venue ready for an international standard competition. Gymnastics Zimbabwe is seeking sponsorship to help with venue repairs, equipment readiness, organising and running the competition and accommodating the national and international competitors as well as the officials, delegation leaders and visitors to our country. For more information on sponsorship or on the competition programme please contact Vice President Chris Muchatuta on 0772 380759 or email: [email protected]