Over the years Barbados has performed well at the Central American and Caribbean Championship (CAC) and national head coach Roger Boyce has promised that this year will be no different as the competition commences Thursday, August 12 and runs to Monday, August 16 in El Salvador.
Speaking before the team’s departure Wednesday afternoon at the Grantley Adams International Airport, Boyce said he was expecting the team to do well with Deano James, Lovette Shepherd and Andrea Thompson selected to represent the Barbados Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation.
“We did not have nationals this year because of all the different COVID protocols that came about but we had a few athletes who were very keen on getting out there and competing. So, what we did was we had a screening with a selection committee and a panel of judges.
“We started with seven and narrowed it down to three who were selected. I think they will give a good account of themselves. All of the athletes are in good shape and I think they will do well,” Boyce told Barbados TODAY.
Even though Barbados has had multiple CAC winners over the years, Boyce said that in recent times the country hasn’t taken a full team because of the fall-off in bodybuilding. However, considering the island’s legacy at the CAC Games, he said he expected to hear the Barbados national anthem play in El Salvador.
“Usually whenever we go to CAC, we always hear our national anthem, so I don’t think that this year we would be any different,” Boyce added.
Andrea Thompson is the most experienced campaigner on the Barbados team as this will be her third time representing the country having had outings in Mexico 2018, Dominican Republic 2019, and now El Salvador 2021. She won the CAC gold medal in the tall class back in 2018 and is looking forward to recapturing that same title and possibly go on to accomplish her professional card.
A representative of Forever Fitness Gym located in Maxwell, Christ Church, Thompson will feature in the 164cm class in Bikini Fitness. Thompson, who is extremely grateful for the opportunity to represent Barbados, said this was something she has been looking forward to for some time. She is hoping to give a good performance despite some challenges with training during COVID-19.
“I feel great. It is something I have been looking forward to for quite some time from the time I knew it was sanctioned to come off. I am always elated to be able to step out and represent Barbados in the best way possible. I am just looking to do my best, not putting too much pressure but want to go out there and perform well.
“COVID has impacted my training in terms of places being closed, not being able to get in and do things as you would have wanted to. However, I made the decision to invest in equipment and so on during the pandemic so I could train at least to a certain degree, maintaining muscle mass. So, for me, it was a hindrance but it was still a blessing as well because I was still able to focus on other areas I was able to bring up, so to speak. It was good and bad but not terrible,” Thompson explained.
Lovette Shepherd, the other female representative and one of Barbados’ best bikini fitness athletes, is looking forward to her first CAC outing. Shepherd, a member of ABC Fitness located at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, noted that she was in the best shape right now. “I am really in the best shape right now so I am expecting great success. I am feeling confident about what I have done in the last few weeks, how my body is feeling, so I am ready. I can’t be any more ready than this, it is either all or nothing.
“This is my first show, I have never done a show before and I had my mind set on doing a show since 2019 but everything was cancelled, so I guess I was mentally prepared.
Everybody keeps saying why CAC, but for me once there was a show, I was going to do it, I didn’t care. I was training during COVID, everywhere was closed but I found somewhere to work out.
“I didn’t know when they would have a show or when but I knew that when they had a show, I wanted to be part of it. For me it didn’t matter when it was locally or internationally, I just wanted the opportunity to do a show.”
James, the lone representative for Barbados in the men’s physique, is an experienced campaigner having represented the country at a couple of international events including the Arnold Classic in Brazil and Diamond Cup in Montreal. This will be James’ first time however competing at CAC in the 175cm category for the men’s physique.
He told Barbados TODAY that he was feeling excited about the opportunity and all his training at the Barbados Port Inc. gym had paid off.
“I am feeling pretty excited, feeling good about my condition and very excited to hit the stage again after two years. I am very confident that I am going to come home with something, very confident,” he said.