Young teenager Divan Pelzer has qualified for the World Championships of the Physical Cultural Association (PCA) which will be held in the UK next year.
The Komani bodybuilder was one of five athletes from Johnny’s Gym who participated in the nationals in Johannesburg last month.
Competitors were squaring off in more than 42 categories with more than 162 athletes from around the country. Pelzer was first in the junior U18s, Juan du Preez first in the over 100kg while Bongile Dladla came second in the classic bodybuilder category and Anam Lubobo took second in the U23 U75kg category.
The only woman in the team, Amy van Jaarsveld from Cradock, was first in her category for toned figures and went on to win the overall women’s competition for trained figure and physique.
Pelzer, who has been into bodybuilding for three years, said his dream was to go professional and he felt more motivated after winning the nationals. “When they called out my name I felt very happy. I am proud of what I accomplished, especially at 18. It wasn’t easy, but I persevered and with the help of family, friends and Ryan Hardwick, it paid off.”
All the athletes from Johnny’s were trained by Hardwick, including Van Jaarsveld through online sessions.
Hardwick said on average it took a minimum of four months to prepare for a competition, for those who were actively bodybuilding. “Anyone who believes they can do it must just go for it. If you put in the work with the right guidance and believe in yourself, you will get up there eventually,” said Hardwick.
Pelzer, Van Jaarsveld and Du Preez all have call-ups to represent SA next year.
Owner of Johnny’s Gym, John Moutzouris, said it was an amazing feeling to have athletes from Komani go to nationals and take first place. “I congratulate all the athletes. As a gym we try to support them as much as possible, giving them the best facilities and personal trainers to help and guide them. It is great to have athletes from a small town do well at that level.”