A consortium of business people and fitness enthusiast have taken the initiative to resuscitate Bodybuilding in the country from the doldrums in a bid to get recognition from the Namibia Sport Commission.
Body Building used to be a popular sport in the country in the 1990s but lost its ploy somewhere being relegated to a leisure than a serious sport . The heavy absence of seriousness in the sport has resulted in the corporate world casting a blind eye on the sport.
The Villager has learnt that in a bid to revive the sport managers of Medicine World, Nucleus Health and Fitness Club and Myocell are collaborating tirelessly towards the re-instating of the bodybuilding into Namibian sports.
The three entities will this year will sponsor the Open Bodybuilding Championship for the fourth consecutive year.
Medicine World’s Marketing Manager, Bernhard Teichmann told The Villager Sport this week that the parties’ involvement in the sport was encouraged by the need to revitalise the sport.
“The sport is not affiliated to anybody in the country because nobody seems to care. That is why we took up the initiative to promote the sport’s visibility and presence a few years back. We (Medicine World) are also doing this for marketing purposes and visibility because we feel that it will be the best way to create awareness about our products,” Teichmann said.
The consortium has been sponsoring the sport since 2010 and this year’s Open Bodybuilding Championship will be held on November, 8th at the Warehouse Theatre.
In addition to the hampers, medals and trophies this year’s prize money has been increased from N$1000 to N$5000.
“I am not sure if we are going to have females because they do not feel comfortable with men but they are welcome to enter,” said Teichmann.
Globally the sport was popularised by amongst other, Hollywood blockbuster movie star and former California Governor Arnold Swarzenegger. Back at home though, Namibia had the likes of Neville Basson who became the country’s middleweight champion in 1993 before giving up the sport in 1996 to pursue a career in the corporate world. Basson is also a popular comedian and public speaker.
“I took up the sport not to have bigger muscles but to look good. I have no idea what had happened to the sport since I stopped,” said Basson who works for Trustco.
Bodybuilding was developed in the late 19th century, promoted in England by, German-born Eugen Sandow who allowed audiences to enjoy viewing his physique in muscle display performances.
Bodybuilding became more popular in the 1950s and 1960s with the emergence of strength and gymnastics champions joining the culture.
In the early 2000s, the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) was attempting to make bodybuilding an Olympic sport.
It obtained full International Olympic Committee (IOC) membership in 2000 and was attempting to get approved as a demonstration event at the Olympics which would hopefully lead to it being added as a full contest but this did not happen.
Olympic recognition for bodybuilding remains controversial since many argue that bodybuilding is not a sport.
Owner of Myocell, William Graham said they are looking at engaging with IFBB in order to get international recognition.
“We have people who can compete at the highest level such as in South Africa to compete but because of this set back we are unable to compete. Nobody took the sport serious. We want to approach IFBB so that we get recognition. We want to grow the sport in the country,” said Graham.