After two years of no competitive showdowns, local bodybuilders will get the opportunity to flex their muscles on stage when the Barbados Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BABBFF) hosts the National Championship on Saturday, June 25th at the Combermere School.
During a press conference held this morning at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, the BABBFF executive led by president Dr Alfred Sparman said this is a big year for bodybuilding in Barbados as the local federation prepares to host the Central American and Caribbean Championships (CAC) as well as the Roger Boyce Elite Pro later this year. Public Relations Officer of the BABBFF, Ivor Worrell, explained that coming out of nationals, a Barbados team will be selected to represent Barbados at the CAC Games which is estimated to cost BABBFF over BDS$300 000 to host those major events.
According to Worrell, so far a total of 40 athletes have registered online and they are anticipating a much larger number by Saturday, June 11th when in person registration takes place at the National Stadium.
As it relates to the various categories in which the participants will feature, they are bodybuilding, men’s physique, classic bodybuilding, women’s physique, women’s bikini fitness, body fitness, fit model and wellness.
Sparman assured that patrons could expect a good show and that he expected a large number of supporters to be in the Combermere School auditorium when the best of Barbados’ bodybuilding is on show.
While Combermere does not have the biggest space, particularly for a bodybuilding show, Worrell gave reasons why they went with such an option. “This is 2022, we are coming out of COVID, the business sector is not in a position to give the funding that we would want and as a result, we are extremely grateful to those persons who have.
“We have to take a number of things into consideration; we are hosting CAC, the elite pro and that in itself is approximately BDS$350 000 and we can’t cut corners with those events. We must have it at a high standard. So, with support from the president, and members of the executive we focus on nationals and we look at how we will host that and let the main funding go towards those two other events. Not that we are downsizing the national championship but we must be realistic.”
Several top names are scheduled to compete, the likes of Ramon Broomes, Kirk Bovell, Lovette Shepherd and Andrea Thompson were all present at today’s press conference and assured that they are ready.
Thompson, the reigning queen of the tall class since 2019, and who also represented Barbados last year at the Central American and Caribbean Championship, told the media she was ready to put on a good show. A national competitor since 2017, Thompson who trains under the supervision of Troy Reid and Garett Norris said preparation was going well given that it was tough not being able to train during the pandemic.
“Coming out of the pandemic you couldn’t get into gyms and train as you wanted to but now that things are open we are able to give our best and put our best physique on display. I would like to encourage all the athletes to come out and give their best. We have been asking for nationals since 2019, we have not had nationals since 2019 so this is a prime opportunity for everyone to come out and really put their best foot forward,” Thompson explained.
She added: “We have CAC here in our backyard and there is no reason why we should not be able to hold our own here and represent Barbados proudly. When we go to other countries that is what they do, that is how they win the cup because they own the majority of the athletes that are present on the stage. So, we need to do that this time around and really show the rest of the Caribbean what we as Barbadians and bodybuilders (can do).”
The owner of Kirk Bovell Gym shared the same sentiments as Thompson by thanking the sponsors for their support in the tough economic times as well as the federation for working hard behind the scenes in putting the event together.
Bovell who will compete in the men’s physique said seven persons from his gym will be competing. As it relates to his preparation going into nationals, Bovell said: “I train every day, coming onto the last 12 weeks I trained twice a day. I wasn’t always the most serious individual when it comes to competing, I only did it for fun but now I am anxious to win.”
“I am happy to be competing and hopefully get a chance to represent Barbados at CAC. I would have started this sport late. I was always into fitness but decided to open my own facility. I would have had the privilege of training and assisting a few athletes in becoming national champions.”
The participants will compete for trophies as finances are a strain at the moment for the BABBFF.
Human Resources and Marketing Manager with Co-operators General Insurance Company Limited Cheryl Forde was in attendance and said her company was happy to support Barbadian athletes and encouraged those in corporate Barbados to come on board and do the same. Forde noted that such support was critical to the development of athletes.
The other sponsors on board for nationals are Glass Enterprises, John Gardening and Freighting Services and Fit Stop and they were all represented at the press conference.