Amid the festivities of the Arnold Classic Africa 2016 the Gauteng Sports Confederation quietly went ensured that the event was a resounding success as it managed the hundreds of volunteers for the event.
As the curtain was drawn on what can only described as a health and fitness celebration at the inaugural Arnold Classic Africa at the Sandton Convention Centre over the weekend of 27 to 28 May, the GSC celebrated its role in making the event a success.
GSC president Barry Hendricks said he was very proud of his team who work 20-hour days to ensure that event ran smoothly.
“It was tiring but for an opportunity of a lifetime to be involved with such a professional event,” said Hendricks. “As the GSC we promote active and healthy living and sports participation and we believe such events help us promote this vision of a healthy and active nation.”
Schwarzenegger said: “I am very passionate about promoting bodybuilding, health, sport and fitness all over the world and this is why almost 30 years ago we started with the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio in the United States. This competition became more and more successful every year where we had more than 200 000 people coming to our events.”
“I said we should take the Arnold Classic to all six continents, and of course one of the most spectacular continents is Africa.”
On Saturday the Hollywood superstar and former Governor of California spent most of the day meeting fans, visiting exhibitions, and showing his support to the various sports codes that were on display.
Yesterday he returned to visit sports that missed out due to his full schedule while he also shared his life story with fans during a Q and A session with Arnold Geerts.
One of the highlights of the weekend which demonstrated his personal touch to the event, Schwarzenegger sat down for a game of chess with six-year-old Kiera Bester, who handed the superstar a rare defeat.
“I’d much rather do that than anything else because it inspires kids whether it is chess, fitness, bodybuilding or whatever it is,” Schwarzenegger said.
“Whether is making movies, I like to inspire people and I like to inspire kids.”
The event showcased more than 47 sports which included disciplines such as acrobatic gymnastics, archery, badminton, beach volleyball, fencing, arm wrestling, and weightlifting.
The three-day spectacular multi-sport event is held in partnership with the Gauteng provincial government and the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) which included a Health and Fitness Trade Expo.
Hendricks said that after weeks of preparation his team could now look back at a job well done. “It was an amazing experience and we are very glad we could be a part of it. Bring on the 2017 edition, no sweat,” he quipped.
Wayne Price, founder of Gentle Giant Promotions and one of the driving forces behind bringing the Arnold Classic Africa to South Africa said the event had exceeded his expectations.
“We are really happy with that and if you take the general response from the athletes and the public has been enormous,” Price said. “If it comes to creating traffic for the exhibitors and the events and creating an opportunity for the athletes I think we’ve ticked all those blocks.”