HARARE - The National Federation of Zimbabwe Bodybuilding and Fitness (NFZBBF) will introduce a category for contestants living with disabilities at this weekend’s Mr and Ms Ironman finals.
The Mr and Ms Ironman finals will be held at the Odyssey Centre in Kadoma on Saturday.
“This year, we introduced the disabled division and it is our belief that we have starved the athletes for a long while now and hope we would be able to record a significant number of athletes in this category,” NFZBBF spokesperson Quiet Shangai told the Daily News.
“We are happy with the way the preparations are unfolding and with just a few days to go to the contest, I’m pleased to say that we have covered a lot of ground and the confirmation of athletes has been overwhelming as usual.”
NFZBBF were yet to explore considering introducing categories for people living with disabilities.
Scorpion Gym owner and bodybuilding administrator Tofara Moyo was the first to introduce this category in his Musclemania Zimbabwe contests in 2010.
He said it was a way of transforming the face of local bodybuilding by removing all barriers, stigma and discrimination associated with people leaving with disabilities.
Through him, the athletes living with disabilities got the opportunity to play an active role in muscle pumping just like their able-bodied counterparts.
When Moyo introduced the category for disabled athletes, he was working as the chairman of Mashonaland Bodybuilding Association now Harare Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (HABFFA).
Renowned wheelchair bodybuilders such as Marko Mwale, Pearson Tazvivinga, Elford Moyo, Emma Chiduku and Sophia Mupasi have all claimed a stake in local bodybuilding since 2010.
Outlining his vision that led to the introduction of the wheelchair athletes, Moyo said: “I saw a lot of people with disabilities turning up in their numbers at my gym and was inspired to introduce a category that could cater for them.
“In other sports, we have wheelchair tennis and basketball but we didn’t have any in bodybuilding.
“My desire is to see all other bodybuilding related associations taking a cue from this initiative and allow these disadvantaged people an opportunity to showcase their potential because being disabled doesn’t mean inability.”