by Andrew Michalak
Last week was devoted to the IFBB Asian Championships in Beijing, China, and IFBB Diamond Cup in Zilina, Slovakia. Now we will move to Africa, to its south end: South Africa, to watch the first on this continent Arnold Amateur Championships, being a part of the largest in Africa Multi Sport Festival and Expo.
South African Federation, under the leaderships of its President Wayne Price, has become more and more active in the recent years. Two years ago they hosted first in Africa Olympia Amateur competition in the city of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Province. We still stay in the Gauteng Province but now are moving to its capital and the largest city in South Africa: Johannesburg. The city was established in 1886 following the discovery of gold in the extremely large gold deposit found along the Witwatersrand (56-kilometre-long scarp). Over 50 000 tons of gold have been mined from these rocks what accounts for approximately 50% of all the gold ever mined on earth. Due to the above, the city is commonly interpreted as the modern day El Dorado.
The multi-sport program of the whole event involves more than 43 sporting disciplines, including our IFBB Physique Sports as well as Crossfit, Powerlifting, Beach Volleyball, Ringball, Dance sports and many others. Also a Fitness Expo dedicated to healthy lifestyle. This all takes place under one roof with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the incredible Sandton Convention Center – one of South Africa’s most prestigious and technologically advanced business, conference and event centers. The Sandton Center is conveniently accessible from the Tambo International Airport by the Gautrain – a modern railway transport system (trains available every 12 min.). Travelling at up to 160 km per hour, you will need 15 minutes to get from the airport to the Sandton Station.
South African Federation developed this project based on their experience got with the organization of the 2014 Olympia Amateur Africa. IFBB sports will include all divisions except children fitness, altogether 40 categories in total. The event is open to all African, Middle East and European IFBB-Affiliated National Federations and 29 countries used this occasion to sent their National Teams. This location also creates a very good opportunity to show internationally for teams from Central and South African countries, so we will see competitors from Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia. But also from longer-distant South Hemisphere locations like New Zealand, Bolivia, Chile and Seychelles. Plus teams from 12 European countries and 7 teams from Middle East.
South Africa enters their top internationally renowned stars: 2014 Olympia Africa and 2015 Arnold Amateur USA winner Michael Adonis, 2014 Olympia Africa winner and 2015 World Championships finalist Earl Abrahams as well as 2012 world junior champion and 2015 World Men’s Championships finalist Louis Bessenger.
From abroad: 2016 Olympia Amateur Kuwait winner Samir Troudi (Sweden). He will directly come to South Africa from Zilina, Slovakia where he was a runner-up at the 2016 IFBB Diamond Cup. Then 2014 Olympia Africa winner Ziad Mekdachi (Seychelles), now 5 kg heavier will go in 95 kg class. Also semifinalist of many IFBB World Championships Dawid Ekpe Egbonyi (Nigeria). And many new faces from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia whose predispositions are yet unknown but some new stars may emerge from this group at this competition. It will be very interesting to see them all as it has never been so wide presentation of African bodybuilders yet.