A new bodybuilding champion will flex his muscles when the 2016 Darcy Beckles Bodybuilding Invitational Classic Bikini and Body Fitness Championship comes off Saturday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
That is because 2015 king Damion Daniel from Grenada will not be returning to defend his title at the ninth Darcy Beckles Championship that will include a solid lineup of bodybuilders with the likes of local hulk and national heavyweight champion Stevenson Belle. He has had a good year so far and perhaps was hoping to have his revenge after placing second to Daniel last year in the Darcy Beckles Classic.
Speaking during Friday morning’s press conference at Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, organizer Roger Boyce said the championship now sanctioned by the Central America and Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation continued to attract a number of competitors from around the region with ten countries including host nation Barbados, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Curacao, Guyana, Guadeloupe, Grenada, Dutch St Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname all being represented.
In addition Boyce said with a total of 72 participants vying for supremacy in various categories the stakes have also increased to over $40 000 worth in prizes.
“We have increased categories so that takes the prize money to over $40 000. Before we would just run one bikini classic, one men’s physique, but now we have it split so we have to go for overall with two divisional winners so that pushes the prize money up a little bit.
“I try to reach out to all the other bodybuilding nations when they have classics. I go to support it and as time grows I think that the Darcy Beckles Classic is getting bigger and better. So every year we are seeing new faces and I think too it has a lot to do with the calibre of competition you get when you come to the Darcy,” he said.
Vice president of CACBFF and president of the Eastern Caribbean Federation of Bodybuilding Errol Williams was in attendance and told the athletes, coaches and managers that they would have all certified CAC judges tomorrow evening in place to critique the participants.
Williams explained that the interest in this particular competition continued to grow especially from those in the CAC region.
“In 2014 there were 33 athletes, 2015 we had 62 and now 72, so the competition has grown and has been growing every since and the interest in the CAC region has increased and we can expect many more for next year. This competition is now a fully sanctioned CAC event and as such all certified CAC judges will be here tomorrow with five confirmed so far,” Williams said.
According to the organizers Barbados will be represented by a total of 35 athletes. Body fitness sensation Tamesha Lewis along with reigning Miss Barbados Shakira Doughlin will be among those on stage looking to showcase their form.
In addition there are three guest posers this year led by 2011 champion of the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness New York Professional Championships Cedric McMillian. Fred ‘Biggie’ Small, a professional for the past five years and who has made it into the top 15 of Mr Olympia twice. Ramon Dodson, a professional in the men’s physique, will join them on stage.
Small said it was always a great feeling when he guest posed in the Caribbean and even though he did not compete at this year’s Mr Olympia due to poisoning, he was working at finding back his best form.
“I got back from Hong Kong and got a severe salmonella poisoning and lost 38 pounds in four days and was in the hospital for over a week. But I have been out of the hospital for four weeks now and I have been working really hard so I can put on a good show for you guys. I have not gained everything back yet but we are on the way,” the 41-year-old said.
Doors open at 3 p.m. and competition starts at 5 p.m.