Homeboy Levar Tull emerged as the champion of the Barbados Ninja Throw Down in a time of three minutes and seven seconds when the competition now in its third year was held at Featherbed Lane, St George over the weekend.
Competing for the very first time, it was sheer skills, agility and determination that led the 36-year-old Tull being crowned king of the ninja showdown having conquered several obstacles to claim the BDS$3, 000 cash prize.
The one-day event which was rain-affected on Saturday evening ended up being a two-day affair when organizer Delano Hinds was forced to postpone the competition until Sunday morning when a modest crowd returned to witness who the eventual winner would be.
Tull was able to defy several obstacles to complete the course and in so doing dethroned last year’s champion Lee Knight who was third this time around in three minutes and 47 seconds while Darren Perez’ three minutes and 13 seconds earned him the silver.
Speaking with media after his performance, Tull who is not associated with any gym but utilizes his uncle’s backyard to train said he was determined to finish the course no matter what.
“My aim was just to make it to the end and the fact that I did claim the fastest time is a bonus. I had practice on evenings, had a couple of walkthroughs, we still had gym sessions, so it was a lot of hard work. The course was fantastic, a lot of fun, all the obstacles are not made to beat you but challenge you. So, I found that everything was well put together,” Tull said.
The obstacles included Morgan Lewis Wheels, Ragged Point Teeter Tot, Cattlewash Stepping Stones, Walaba Log Posts, Green Monkey Bars 2.0, Garrison Spider Wall, Joe River Jump, Hackletons Cliff Net Climb, River Bay Log Roll, Pico Tenerife Peg Board, Charles Fort Cannon Balls and Mount Hillaby.
This year attracted quite a few overseas participants and in the adult female section, Grace Simms from South Carolina won the women’s clash clocking three minutes and 50 seconds despite not completing the course but proceeded a lot further than her rivals and ended at the Ragged Point Teeter Tot obstacle.
In fact, the top three finishers in the women’s failed to finish the course as Natalie Duran stopped at the Ragged Point Teeter Tot in three minutes and 33 seconds for second place. Charity Lebanc made it as far as the River Bay Log Roll in two minutes and 38 seconds for the third position.
The 31-year old Simms has been competing at Ninja events for the past four years but felt ecstatic to compete for the very first time in Barbados and win.
“I thought it was a really fun course, I went too slow, so, unfortunately, I did not get to go as far as I would have liked but next time I would try to pick up the speed and do a few more obstacles. But I am excited to win, I mean it could have been anyone of us girls to win because we all did amazingly, some of the other girls were way faster than me and just happened to slip up, so I got lucky basically,” she said.
When asked to give her views about the course and participating, Simms explained: “I was extremely worried about falling, so I really took my time and went super slow which slowed my time down. All this stuff you had to hang from I felt good about because I am a rock climber. My husband and I are building a gym in South Carolina right now because the closest one to us is three hours away, so we are excited to build the gym. It is going to be called Motive School of Movement and then we would be able to train a lot more.”
The younger ninjas were also in action and in the males 13 to 17 age group, Tyriek Knight won in three minutes 20 seconds, followed by Nathan Clinton in three minutes ten seconds and Christopher Hayward, one minute and 32 seconds. In the 13 to 17 for females, Saffire Fields won in 39 seconds as she did not get past the first ragged point teeter tot.
In the boys eight to 12, Slade Jones had the winning time of a minute and 58 seconds, Jaden Johnson three minutes 43 seconds was second and Charlie Durant finished in three minutes and 43 seconds for third. Charlee Collins’ four minutes and three seconds topped the girls’ eight to 12 age group, Jaleesa Gaynes was second in five minutes and 14 seconds and Hannah Toppin was third in five minutes and 39 seconds.