ZIMBABWE’S gymnasts will next month get a chance to rub shoulders with competitors from southern African countries in the Zone Six Gymnastics Championships to be held in Harare.
=justify>The event should attract a total of about 250 gymnasts to Belvedere Technical Training College from December 8 to 12.
South Africa, Namibia and Botswana are some of the countries expected to come for the big event. Malawi and Lesotho are also expected to attend although they have not confirmed their participation yet.
Gymnasts from the Reunion Island will also attend this event even though they are not a southern African country.
The chairman of the National Gymnastics Association, Neil Nativel, said that they are very pleased to be hosting the Zone Six championships.
“It is a very exciting sport and we are happy to be hosting these games,” he said.
The championships will feature women artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampolining, tumbling and aerobics. Also included will be general gymnastics.
“Gymnastics is an umbrella term, therefore we will be having different categories,” said Nativel.
General gymnastics is the most popular as it is recreational and non-competitive.
Trampolining and tumbling will be featured in the competition for the first time.
Gymnastics has three levels which include pre-level, junior level as well as senior level..
Nativel said that the three levels encourage children to do well in the sport.
“We have three levels,” said Nativel. “These levels motivate children and allow them to have competition in a level for a number of years.
National gymnastics coach Chris Muchatuta said the major problem that they were facing was that of equipment which is now below standard.
“We are still using the equipment that was used in the 1995 All-Africa Games,” said Muchatuta. “We need safety equipment for us to host the tournament properly.”
The games are usually hosted by South Africa who have better facilities.
Those who excel will be awarded with the gold, silver and bronze medals. The gymnasts will be accommodated at Arundel School.