"Thanks to CrossFit and their principles I will continue to transfer this wave of energy and sense of overwhelming well-being to our community."
CrossFit Kyma, one of only two CrossFit boxes in Zimbabwe, popped onto the affiliate map early in 2014. Just a couple months later, Kings of Kyma posted Africa’s third-best team score on 14.1 (1833), and second-best team score so far on 14.2 (587).
This new box isn’t made up of new athletes. Ryan Burt learned about CrossFit while at an Australian military base four years ago.
“Having owned my own gym since 2000, I knew that this way of training was about to change my life,” Burt said.
For the next four years, he made due with the limited equipment available to him and built a community of like-minded fitness fanatics at his local gym.
“I started training using the CrossFit methodology with a few friends in a small corner of my gym. We had very little equipment and started out with two Olympic bars, a few bumper plates, one set of rings and a 24-kg kettlebell. But we improvised as much as possible,” he said. “It didn’t take long before there was an interest from others.”
“With there being no affiliates in Zimbabwe at that time, and very few people having any knowledge of CrossFit, I tried to educate people as much as possible about what CrossFit is and that CrossFit was for everyone,” he continued. “The perception at the time was that it was too difficult.”
Eventually, he and a friend, Jason Flynn, traveled to Durban, South Africa to attend a Level 1 Seminar.
“Meeting Matt Chan and his wife (Cherie) there was inspirational and really helped clarify how to draw in athletes of any level (to) the sport,” Burt said.
Less than three months ago, CrossFit Kyma became an official affiliate. Although he has been doing CrossFit for years, Burt has noticed a difference since affiliating. The CrossFit name means something to the Zimbabweans in Harare.
“Since the affiliation, interest from the general community has really sparked and I have seen rapid growth in membership,” Burt said. “The word is getting out and people are becoming aware of the CrossFit movement.”
Burt isn’t a one-man affiliate and coaching team. He has a “good group of Level 1 trainers” behind him, and a near complete box.
“I have been importing equipment slowly from South Africa and we are nearly at a stage I am happy to call a fully-kitted box,” he said.
Burt’s goals for Kyma are to have his team compete at regionals and to continue to grow the Zimbabwean CrossFit community. ‘Kyma’ means ‘wave’ in Greek, a tribute to Burt’s Greek grandmother.
“Thanks to CrossFit and their principles I will continue to transfer this wave of energy and sense of overwhelming well-being to our community,” Burt said.
Tamlyn Birkett, Marianna Osman, Kerry Lang, Jean Claude Jar Dim, Jason Flynn and Burt are the team’s top scorers. Some of their scores have been good enough for top-five to top-15 on the individual Leaderboard in Africa.
Birkett, a former competitive swimmer who represented her country in water polo, started doing CrossFit 10 months ago.
“Initially, going into the Open my main goal was to place in the top-100 athletes in Africa, and hopefully make the Kyma team for regionals,” Birkett said.
Two weeks in, the chance of qualifying for the 2014 Africa Regional looks bright for the Kings of Kyma.