Barbados’ Bikini Fitness queen Shakira Doughlin captured bronze and stood out among a nine-member team that returned home this afternoon having competed at the just concluded Arnold Classic South America Championship held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
On arrival at the Grantley Adams International Airport just after 3.p.m this afternoon, national coach Roger Boyce said Barbados’ performance was nothing short of impressive.
“I think that the team did very well. I think that we couldn’t really ask for more from the athletes, and pretty much it was a personal best from all the athletes on the team and all of them finished in the top fifteen,” Boyce said.
And his sentiments were supported by the president of the Barbados Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BABBFF), Dr Alfred Sparman, who was all smiles as he greeted each team member and congratulated them on their performance.
According to Sparman, this marked the beginning of a new era and the BABBFF was all about the athletes. “We send these athletes who have never gone to the international stage, they go up there not knowing what to expect. They went over there, worked very hard and they did well, we got bronze, four finished seventh and the rest in the top fifteen. We couldn’t ask for more and I guarantee next time we send them out it [result] will be a lot better.”
Doughlin captured the lone individual medal, four other persons placed in the top eight while the other finished in the top 15. Ramon Broomes came fourth in the men’s middleweight, Ramona Morgan was fourth in senior women’s body fitness and also fifth in the master’s category of women’s body fitness. The fourth-place finishers were Hadley Hoyte in men’s short class physique, Jamil Jones in muscular physique, Kirk Alleyne light heavyweight and Vanessa Jones in women’s bikini.
However, much of the attention was on Doughlin who emerged from the Arrivals area showing her third-place trophy and bronze medal around her neck.
No stranger to the Arnold Classic having competed last year and finished 16th, the 27-year-old said that the experience gained in 2017 had helped to build her confidence when she faced the judges this time around. In addition, she credited lots of training along with her research done on previous winners in the said competition to come much higher this toss.
“It took a lot of research to get where I am now today, I had to look at all the winners from the previous categories from this same show and see where they had strong points and see if I could work hard enough to get some of that in my body and presentation.
“To get to this level you really cannot be laid back, you really can’t take anything for granted and you can’t mismanage your time because preparation is what gets these girls to where they are supposed to be. So, I can’t let up, I can’t be too easy, I can’t be too casual anymore, so from the previous year to this year, I found that I had to manage my time well and I could not drop the ball,” Doughlin said.
Already established as a local queen in bikini fitness, Doughlin explained that in order to take that dominance onto the international stage she needed to work a lot more on conditioning and her presentation.
“Every year as the sport grows, it becomes, I don’t want to say extreme in certain areas, but every single time you have to improve, you cannot bring back the same thing at all because they would have gone way ahead of you from the last time you went on stage. So, the next time is probably getting more conditioned. So that is something I would have to work on.”
When questioned as to whether local competition was enough to give her a push or at least help to maintain her competitive form, Doughlin explained: “That is why I went out of the Caribbean because I felt like I needed to feel more pushed… I did not feel as though I had a lot of competition. For more than one reason, we didn’t have a lot of girls some years, certain shows you would only have three, four girls. So although you won, you didn’t have a strong field to feel like you really beat some person. So that is why I felt like let me just go out and see what that experience would do for me, if I’m really supposed to be doing this sport, if I can really make it overseas and that has really pushed me to the point where I am so determined to win or try to.”