Barbados’ athletes were once again the star attraction at the 42nd Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships staged over the weekend at the Sonesta Maho Resort in St Maarten. It was a case of enhancing their rich legacy when they secured their 32nd overall CAC triumph with seven divisional winners and another pro card selection.
Ramon Dodson in his first CAC competition won the over 178cm men’s physique and the overall pose down to gain IFBB Pro status. This means that Barbados have the first two men’s physique pros after Maurice Arthur won the inaugural event in 2013.
An equally startling first was that Barbados swept all three categories of men’s physique as Marlon Dottin and debutant Jamil Jones won the under 174 and under 178 cm classes respectively. Dottin is always the epitome of a physique model and won his first title after being second last year. Jones has made extraordinary progress in the last four weeks to improve his posing and conditioning to leapfrog all of the pre-contest favourites.
Corey Weithers was self-sponsored at the CAC and finished 6th in the short class. His confidence will be high as he quickly became more relevant with each call-out after being originally overlooked.
Men’s physique is here to stay as the divisions were large and attracted about 20 competitors in each group. Coaches Carl Moore and Matthew Pilgrim deserve the credit for making the Bajan athletes the best-prepared posers in all disciplines including men’s physique. They have also been behind the six-year dominance of the Strike Force Gym at the local National Championships.
The Women’s Bikini Fitness team placed two girls into the pro selection round as Natalie Webb-Howell and Melissa Burrowes stamped their authority with flawless walking routines to capture the over-172cm and under-163cm divisions respectively. Lana Richards continues to show great promise, finishing third and will now have to work on tightening up her glutes, hamstrings and her presentation to come back stronger. The second-placed Domini Alleyne was unable to replicate the charismatic presence she projected at nationals as a viral illness took its toll on her. Presentation is so important that the best body alone is not enough to win.
Ramona Morgan was unable to repeat as winner of the under-163 cm body fitness as she placed second. Kathy-Ann Greenidge and Janelle Butcher proved they belong at this level with solid fourth places in the large under-168 and under-158 cm groups.
Tanisha Cross made some wonderful improvements to her routine to showcase an almost flawless execution after the music man’s glitch caused her to use her alternate CD. Her second place showed her great potential. As her muscularity improves Cross will be difficult to beat.
The men’s bodybuilding champions from Barbados were Stevenson Belle in the light-heavyweight division and perennial welterweight champion Hoskyn Worrell. They delivered as usual but came up against a beautifully balanced, large, super heavyweight, Nerio Angulo from Venezuela. Dorrell Coulthrust, in his first regional experience, was fourth and when he grows into his frame he will be a heavyweight. His posing and conditioning improved immensely since nationals after working with Carl Moore.
Shaquille Lavine was third in the juniors and was the best conditioned of all. Unfortunately two other juniors were several pounds heavier with decent definition, which could not be overcome. He certainly fought hard and is one for the future. To show his worth Lavine then placed sixth in the senior lightweight division. He is a young warrior.
The light middleweight was a high quality division and the second and fifth place results for Laron Gibson and Joe Bourne were very complimentary as they were on the lighter side in this group. It was a case of quality muscle, which helped Gibson to be so competitive.
Useful contributions to the Barbados team win came from Mike Worrell and Curtis Kirby as they finished second and fourth respectively in the bantamweight and flyweight competitions. These smaller men were not outdone on the stage and epic battles were contested.
The competition was especially hard on the athletes as the weigh-in process was preceded by an Olympic-style parade and stretched over eight hours. The semi-finals and finals were also approximately eight hours long each, on consecutive days. It was as much a test of muscular development and execution of disciplines as it was one of physical and mental endurance.
Over 250 athletes from 28 countries participated and it is clear bodybuilding and fitness are growing. The CAC Championships will be held in Guatemala followed by Mexico in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
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