ZIMBABWE’S former BMX junior world champion and 2014 junior sportswoman of the year Rebekah Oberholzer has been included in the Gymnastics Zimbabwe team to represent the country in the Region 5 Gymnastics Championships 2016 to be held at Belvedere Teachers Technical College in Harare next month.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The nine-year-old multi-talented junior athlete, who is also a keen swimmer and a ballerina, became BMX junior world champion at the age of six, beating competitors from other countries at the ICU World Championships in Belgium back in 2014.
It was a feat which saw her being honoured as the country’s junior sportswoman of the year as well as earning a sponsorship deal with Dairibord Zimbabwe, who sponsor most of her international events.
Oberholzer will take another aim for a gold medal when she will represent the country at the regional gymnastics championship slated for December 9–11.
Zimbabwe will host this year’s edition of the Region 5 Gymnastics Championships next month – the largest regional gymnastics competition to be held in the country since 2013 – with countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa expected to send their athletes for the annual event.
Speaking to Standardsport, Gymnastics Zimbabwe vice-president Chris Muchatuta expressed excitement at the thought of the international gymnastic competition coming to Zimbabwe.
“Gymnastics Zimbabwe is very excited to be able to host the Region 5 Gymnastics Championships. This is a great opportunity not only for our judges and coaches to experience international level competition right here at home, but they also provide our future gymnasts an opportunity to see and experience international competition in real life,” he said.
He added: “Preparations are going extremely well so far, we are on track. Our gymnasts are preparing well, they are ready and eager for the impending arrival of gymnasts from other countries for the competition. Aside from some of the usual minor challenges that have to be cleared up prior to the competition, we are expecting to host a successful and well-rounded regional championship event.”
Muchatuta also appealed to the corporate world to come forward and assist them in the quest to host a smooth event.
The Region 5 Gymnastics Championships, formally known as the Zone VI Gymnastics Championships, are an opportunity for some of the most talented young gymnasts in the region to pit their skills against each other on the big stage.
It is also an essential competition used to promote and develop the sport in the southern African region.
A strong 53-member Zimbabwe team has been chosen to hoist the country’s flag up at the championship.
Competition will be in categories such as the Artistic Men, Artistic Women, Rhythmic, Trampoline and Aerobic.
Zimbabwe has consistently produced impressive performance, especially in the Women’s Artistic discipline.
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Junior: Nigel Moyo, Benson Gonese, Tanatswa Mutowo, Don Mushingaidzwe, Deon Pretorius, Trey Du Plooy, Vincent Manyana.
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Pre Junior: Judah Ansley, John Austen, Tanatswa Mutowo, Anotida Mukoyi.
Women Artistic Gymnastics Junior: Nina Katsande, Rachel Amm, Jesse Ansley, Rebecca Conlon.
Women Artistic Gymnastics Pre Junior: Tinashe Manase, Bronwyn Smyth, Patel Kira, Anesu Mapiro, Rebekah Oberholzer, Rylee Mitchel.
Rhythmic Gymnasts: Savannah Grant, Kiora Joseph, Sangiwe Mpofu, Georgie Sampson, Chanelle Hencil, Tsitsi Nyamutswa, Tayedza Chikumbirike , Tiyane Nyahunzvi, Shemaiah Nyabani, Tamika Mparuri, Vanessa Nzombe, Carla Bezuidenhout,
Anike Mparuri, Matifadza Mukanganga, Talia Chonyera, Saliah Johnson, Aisha Chademanah, Paris Govere, Anesu Mapiro, Nikita Kassim, Tariro Mukamba, Lauren Gwaunza, Joanne Mashevedze, Maya Dijakovic, Prisca Shoko
Aerobics: Sydney Hencil, Maryln Doriyo, Shemaiah Nyabani, Rugare Chirenje, Gugulami Kandawasvika, Amy Shoniwa, Butjilo Mpofu, Camryn Paizee, Whitney Zaranyika, Alex Hencil, Nyasha Munzvandi.