The Zimbabwe gymnastics team for the Zone Six has stepped up preparations for the Zone Six Gymnastics Championships which will take place in the country next month.
The provisional squad has been training with national coach Christopher Muchatuta for the games which run from December 7 to 12 at Belvedere Teacher Training College.
Muchatuta said the sport of gymnastics had made significant strides and local gymnasts now had an opportunity to show that progress on home soil.
“Our standards have been on the rise and we are now regarded as a powerhouse in the region. These championships will give us a chance to show the progress we have made and we should be able to field a high number of gymnasts since we will be hosting the event,” said Muchatuta, who is also the vice-president at Gymnastics Zimbabwe.
“This is our biggest event on home soil since 2006 and so far six countries have confirmed participation which makes it bigger since only Namibia and South Africa managed to come to the country in 2006,” added Muchatuta.
Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Angola, Namibia and South Africa will join the hosts at the event which has been running for the past two decades.
The regional championships cover all the competitive types of gymnastics; that is artistic gymnastics for both men and women, rhythmic, aerobics, trampolining and tumbling.
There are three different levels within the above-mentioned disciplines which are pre- junior (under 14 years) junior (14-18 years) and seniors which enable team sizes to range from 20 to 100 competitors and ages from the youthful to adult competitors.
Gymnastic events have been contested at the Olympics since the birth of the modern Olympic movement in 1896 in Athens, Greece.
In Africa the sport has been on a steady rise and Zimbabwe has not been left behind.
At the last Zone Six games in Namibia, two years ago local gymnasts reaped 37 medals, five gold; 12 silver and 20 bronze medals.
With the All-Africa Games set for Maputo, Mozambique, drawing nearer the Zone Six Championships will be a good platform for local gymnasts to fine-tune their preparations.