Thursday, February 29, 2024

Best of best


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Fast?rising?Stevenson?Belle and comeback kid Rhonda Browne ruled the bodybuilding stage, but it was the razzmatazz of the men’s physique competition that captured the loyalties of a sold-out audience at the Barbados Amateur Bodybuilding and?Fitness National Championships on Saturday night.
Fans at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre were treated to a spectacular show by the 18 men’s physique contestants whose every move was cheered.
Men’s physique is as much about flamboyance and personality as it is about six-pack abdominals and chiselled chests and judging from the response of the audience that included Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, band leader Chetwin Stewart and dentist Lon Clarke, it is here to stay.
Maurice Arthur of Twin Gym, in the over 175 centimetres class, and Marlon Dottin of Valley Fitness Zone in the 175 centimetres and under division, were the best of the best but others such as Omar Benn, Lynston Griffith, Kevin Edwards and Corey Weithers, made their presence felt.
Evy Bentham walked away with third place in the tall class, but no one got more screams on the night than the charismatic 41-year-old personal trainer at Surfside Wellness Centre.
“As a fitness professional, I feel I should set the example for my clients and not only talk the talk, but walk the walk,” said Bentham.
The short class may have been the more riveting of the two classes with Dottin’s superior shape and symmetry giving the edge over the improved Benn of Krackan’s Gym and Edwards of Strike Force Gym.
Bodybuilding came in the second half of a programme that finished after midnight and if it lacked the depth and eye-popping attraction of the men’s physique contest, it was not short of drama and questionable decisions.
No credit should be taken away from Belle and Browne, but both may have been lucky to win their overall titles.
For the second successive year, Hoskyn Worrell was unfortunate not to capture the grand pose down of divisional champions. If Belle’s legs were sharper, Worrell had better shape and proportion, and back muscle separation was second to none.
Belle, who has been under the guidance of Aereal “Tiger”?Johnson, tossed his arms when he was announced the winner but Worrell had all reason to leave the stage disappointed.
The judges seem to have also got it wrong in the pose down for Miss Barbados. Browne had the most defined legs of the four females on stage but the 6ft 1in. Deidre Archer had the best overall package.
Archer must know she has to work on her legs but of the seven compulsory poses, she won at least five of them, including front- and back-double biceps shots and the front and back lat spreads. She outgunned Browne in the size department and had more upper torso muscle detail and should have won Miss Barbados.
Those were not the only howlers on the night. Personal trainer Kerri Gibson, of J?&?S?Health, Fitness &?Sport Academy, delighted all and sundry, except probably the judges, with her routine in the women’s fitness contest but in the end the top prize went to the gallant Asha Chase of Flawless Concepts XP?Gym.
The biggest disappointment was four-time Mr Barbados William Prescod, who was smooth and a non-factor in the men’s heavyweight class. At 50, this was now or never for him. His performance indicated the latter.

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