Stevenson Belle captured his first ever Darcy Beckles Bodybuilding Invitational Classic title in what was his stated final career flex.
The three-time Central American and Caribbean light heavyweight champion Belle told Barbados TODAY he had made the decision to call it quits due to victimization allegedly meted out to him and other athletes by the Barbados Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation.
This was Belle’s fourth time competing at the Darcy Beckles Bodybuilding Invitational Classic Bikini and Body Fitness Championship. After placing third and being runner-up twice he finally took home the bacon over the weekend at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre despite a strong challenge from crowd favourite Soepe Koese of Suriname who came second ahead of Mr Antigua, Kenny Jacobs.
“It was the best personal achievement for me this year on stage but in terms of emotional stress and victimization from the people in charge of the sport, it was the worst for me from what I see myself and other athletes had to go through and are going through.
“I would even go as far as to say this is the last time I would be competing under this federation and the last time I will be competing on the bodybuilding stage because of the treatment I have received,” said the two-time Mr Barbados and Sport World Classic Champion.
Belle’s undefeated record this year began with Mr St Michael in June, the St Maarten Inter-island Championship in July followed by the Sports World Classic heavyweight and overall title. He then followed that up with the Mr Barbados heavyweight and overall in August and brought his muscular package to win the judges’ hearts as a representative of the Surf Side Wellness Centre in last night’s showdown.
Barbados bodybuilders represented well and took home a fair share of prizes up for grabs starting with Shaquille Lavine in the men’s Bodybuilding Open Classic. The show started 50 minutes late at 5:50 p.m. with the men’s bodybuilding open but the crowd was still well entertained when Lavine brought his A game against a competitive field.
Lavine also received lots of encouragement from the audience including Darcy Beckles himself who was heard shouting from the crowd “hold it there, Shaq” or “keep it tight there boy”. That first position earned him a place to flex his muscles in the heavyweight showdown but was unable to match up to the other competitors including Belle as he came sixth.
Shakira Doughlin of Surfside Wellness Centre continued her fine form this year when she took home first place honours in the women’s bikini fitness and overall. Lana Richards representing ABC Fitness Studio also gave local fans a reason to smile when she was adjudged queen of the ladies’ bikini fitness over 163cm.
Barbados also represented well in the men’s physique pose-off when national champion Hadley Hoyte delivered the full package to capture the short class and overall title while teammate Jamil Jones who was second at this year’s Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation Championship came first in the tall class of the men’s physique.
Ryan Haynes of First Fitness Gym is always a big contender but surprisingly came sixth in the men’s physique after many had expected him to place in the top three at least but the judges saw differently.
In the women’s physique Nicole Toussaint delivered gold for Trinidad and Tobago ahead of Barbadian Julia Davis in second and fellow Trinidadian Latoya Hamilton in third. Meanwhile in the women’s figure contest Tamesha Lewis was the most impressive.
Earlier in the show Nation Newspaper journalist Mike King was recognized for his invaluable contribution to the sport by organizers of the show. Then later in the night there were special appearances from guest posers Ramon “Doddy” Dodson from Barbados along with International Federation of Bodybuilders professionals Fred “Biggie” Small and the man many came out to see, Cedric McMillan.