By Kimberley Cummins
Competitors in the upcoming Strongfest 2022 will have to come better than correct if they intend to challenge the reigning Strong Man champion Julio Sinclair for his title.
Sinclair laid down the gauntlet today, stating that he was unaware of anyone else registered in the competition thus far that can come close to rivalling his current form.
“What I know for sure, whoever is coming to this competition has to come with their A-game because I am bringing mine and it’s no ordinary game. It’s hard and rough; rugged and speedy – it’s the whole thing,” he stressed during an interview with Barbados TODAY.
The champ is among 35 competitors who hail from Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, and will face off for the coveted title when the championship returns on September 3 and 4 at the St. George Secondary School. Strongfest was last held in 2019 but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and regulations, it was forced into a two-year hiatus.
Speaking from his home in Guyana, Sinclair revealed that his preparations have been coming along steadily and he was not only strengthening his body but his mind to take on whatever obstacle raises its head in the competition. Sinclair’s confidence level is especially high as he comes off another major win, in the Super Heavy category at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding Championships which were held in Barbados last month. And the 34-year-old expressed his plans to continue riding the wave of dominance, particularly in the Strong Man competition.
“Up to last night I was doing some heavy farmer’s walk. I had 150-pound dumbbells in each hand and I do a 30-metre walk, up and down. Also, I have been doing some tyre flips. Our tyres in Guyana are over 650 pounds, it’s heavy. When I was [in Barbados] last time I realised that the Barbados tyre is lighter. So, I’m continuing with my training to get back my strength up to the level it was once before and I have two more weeks . . . so the other competitors need to be on high alert. Even though my weight is that small [265 lbs], my strength is very much – I am real strong,” he warned.
Strongfest 2022 is divided into two days. Day 1 is dedicated to powerlifting, that is squat, bench press, deadlift, and on Day 2 is the Strong Man competition which comprises: tyre flip, over-head/shoulder press, farmer’s carry, yoke carry, sandbag challenge and/or stone, cattle bell throw. All events are judged under the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) standard and rules and regulations.
Communications officer for the event Ramon Dodson expects a keen battle among contestants in both the men and women’s categories. This year the number of registrants has increased, with the majority coming from outside of Barbados. Trinidad will be sending a contingent of 14 athletes, both Suriname and Guyana have four each, Cuba one and they will clash against the 12 from Barbados. Registration is currently still open to Barbadians.
Dodson believed the high standard of competition established over the two previous editions of the showdown is one of the main reasons for the increased numbers.
“I think on a whole, the interest in the sport is trending upward in the region. I think since athletes are getting more and more interested in the idea of Strong Man and the idea of Powerlifting, they are hungry and eager. So, when options to compete near home occur, they jump on board to participate because outside of the few opportunities in the region, you have to travel to places like the USA, Europe and so on to compete in these types of events,” he explained.
Part of the proceeds at the door will go to the St. George Secondary in an effort to assist the upgrade and refurbishing of the school’s sports centre.