7 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Bodybuilding Legend Takundwa Dies

LEGENDARY former bodybuilder and ex-Mr Zimbabwe George Takundwa has died. He was 58.

Takundwa died at Parirenyatwa Hospital yesterday having been admitted to the institution last Friday after suffering a stroke.

He is survived by a wife and two children and mourners are gathered at Number 4 Roseen Gardens in Ashdown Park, Harare.

The muscleman - who at the age of 26 years was crowned Mr Rhodesia when the sport was still white-dominated - also held the post of Zimbabwe National Bodybuilding and Weightlifting association president.

At the time of his death, Takundwa, Zimbabwe's most decorated bodybuilding champion was president of the Weightlifting Federation.

This followed the split between weightlifting and the bodybuilding with each discipline forming its own union.

The veteran administrator, who was admitted in hospital after suffering a stroke on December 27, is expected to be buried on Wednesday at his rural home in Chivhu.

Long time colleague and former competitor Kays Rushika yesterday said he learnt of Takundwa's death with sadness.

"I visited him on Friday at Parirenyatwa and we talked for a long time, sharing jokes and laughing. Everything appeared fine, but things just took a sudden turn and now we hear that he is no more.

"It's sad and I think this is a big loss to the fraternity because this man was an icon.

"Besides being a great athlete, he did a lot in supporting bodybuilding and weightlifting in Zimbabwe as an administrator.

"We worked together for more than 15 years, travelling outside the country and competing in many contests. He was a man who knew his mission.

"At the time of his death he was now the president of the Weightlifting Federation while I am at the bodybuilding side. I can confirm that he did everything in his power for the success of the sport in the country," said Rushika.

Takundwa had been involved in the sport since taking an interest in bodybuilding in 1972, winning numerous titles that included Mr Rhodesia, Mr Zimbabwe and Mr Iron Man.

Before coming into administration, he had set a national record by scooping the Ironman Championship a record seven consecutive times and the Mr Rhodesia and Mr Zimbabwe titles another record five times.

He also took part in international events like the Mr Universe Bodybuilding Championships held in South Africa in 1980 and the World Championships in Egypt in 1982.

Takundwa, who hailed from Mufakose, has also played a big role in helping a number of youths from the neighbourhood to realise their dreams in the sport. Some of Zimbabwe's great athletes like Innocent Choga and Elvis Chibhamu came through Takundwa's grooming.

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