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A NUMBER of Eastern Cape athletes have been included in a contingent of South African bodybuilders who will be flying the national flag at the International Body Power Midlands Fitness Championships to be held in Birmingham, United Kingdom next week.
Under the auspices of BodyBuilding and Fitness South Africa, an organisation that hosts bodybuilding and fitness shows with a view to identifying talented sportsmen and women who are of the standard to represent South Africa on the international stage, four local men and three local women will be among those representing South Africa in competing against some of the best in the world.
Lusindiso “The Diamond” Danster, with an impressive 14 first places in recent tournaments, Tshabalala Itumeleng, Alfred Bethani and Stephen Strydom will be strutting their stuff in the bodybuilding divisions while the women will participate in events with names such as Fitness Bikini, Beach Bikini and Miss Figure.
Having tasted success in the Miss Figure and Beach Bikini competitions respectively, Jaime Griffiths and Sheridan Muller will be hoping for similar achievements in Birmingham, while Donna Bartlett will participate in the Over-35 Fitness Bikini events.
Muller, who will be competing internationally for the first time, said she started preparing since April and she was looking forward to represent her country for the very first time.
“This is going to be an experience of a lifetime for me even though we don’t know what lies ahead of us, and I would definitely like to place in the top 10.”
Danster, who walked away with the overall top position at the Butterworth Classic, said he was ecstatic to have made the cut.
“I have been dieting since April. It’s been very hard because I haven’t been resting enough and, recently, I could feel my body getting tired after the Butterworth Classic.
“After that I had to take a week just to have a break so my body could recover, and also tone down on the hectic diet and, thankfully, after that my body responded well and I’m back to myself now.”
Bethani, who has a journalism degree, said his passion for bodybuilding has been the driving force in his aim to be the best of the best, especially after having qualified twice for the internationals but failing to attract sponsors for the trip.
“I have always dreamt of representing my province and wearing the Border colours and I knew I had to be very good.
“Then I had to up my ambitions so I could carry the bag for my country, and for two years I qualified to go to the internationals – but it never materialised, but God is amazing and He works in mysterious ways because my dream of going to compete at the world stage is coming true.
“Thanks to Virgin Active for coming on board while I am at my peak,” he said.