AFTER coming sixth at the Gentle Giant Classic 2017 in Johannesburg last month, Mitesh Rampersad from Raisethorpe wants to encourage and promote bodybuilding in Pietermaritzburg. His position qualifies him to participate at the Arnold Classic Africa 2018, from May 18 to 20. Rampersad, who started bodybuilding in 2009 told Maritzburg Fever that although he is proud he qualified for this big competition next year, his goal is to encourage athletes in Pietermaritzburg to take up the sport, and raise awareness about it. “It is great that I was placed sixth, but I want to use what I have achieved and help those who want to do bodybuilding. “I know there are lots of athletes in Pietermaritzburg - it’s just that they don’t have the support to take it to the next level. They have no idea where they can compete or promote themselves.“It is very expensive getting into a sport like this, which is why we need support from business people, the community and maybe the department of sport. “I want to see Pietermaritzburg hosting its own bodybuilding competitions, where people can support, encourage and see what bodybuilding is about.”He said since he started his bodybuilding journey his parents have been very supportive, for which he is grateful. “My parents are old and had to adapt to my diet because I have a very strict diet. “Since I began entering competitions in 2013 I have always entered the classic bodybuilding category because it is about balancing your body. “Although I am a muscleman I still want to be flexible.I still want to be able to play other sport like soccer because I am someone who loves sport, even growing up.” He said he also wants to motivate the youth to get involved in sport because it helps them to become healthy and keeps them out of trouble. “This is a long-term commitment and since I began this journey I have never looked back and intend pushing even harder to help others.”TRAIL runner Mark Mackenzie, third-year IIE BCom marketing student and triathlon captain at IIE Varsity College Pietermaritzburg, has been leading from the front, recently winning the Race Organisers Admin Group (Roag) series on 501 points when he took first place in the Baynesfield 10km trail run in 38:10. The Roag series, which has been underway since February, consists of nine races with the six top results counting towards the log. Mackenzie held a constant lead during the series, with a 122-point lead over second place after the Tour de Krans segment of the series. Second place in the Roag series finished on 291 points. Mackenzie has displayed his resolve, not only on the trails, but in the classroom as well, and has proved his worth as a student. “I have enjoyed racing the Roag series, which brings so much more to the sport than just competition. The diversity of the trails from race to race challenged us in all areas of the sport, keeping us honest while also making us tourists of our beautiful province. It has truly been an adventure from start to finish and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.” -Supplied.