By Ezra Stuart | Fri, November 02, 2012 - 12:05 AM
His love for the sport remains but if Darcy Beckles, one of Barbados’ greatest and most decorated bodybuilders, was able to relive his life, he would not represent the land of his birth.
Clearly disappointed with the way he has been treated by Government, Beckles, who brought honour and glory to Barbados in 1975 when he won the Mr World Tall Class and went on to capture the Western Hemisphere crown the following year, told WEEKEND SPORT that if he could live his life over he would never grace the regional or international stage in the ultramarine and gold.
While admitting he received a Barbados Service Star from Government a number of years ago, Beckles, a five-time National Sports Personality, who also won the Mr Barbados Olympia, Mr West Indies, Mr North America and two Mr Caribbean titles during a highly successful bodybuilding career, is adamant such emblems shouldn’t define sporting excellence.
“In my opinion, an athlete shouldn’t be given a service medal. A Barbados Service medal should be for somebody who is doing service out there, not a sportsperson, so that’s no big thing with me,” the 66-year-old Beckles said in a wide-ranging interview this week.
“They got people who does see me and ask, Beck, when are they going to knight you? That doesn’t bother me. I’m happy with what I’ve done in bodybuilding. There is nothing in Barbados or the Caribbean that I have not won. I was even No.7 in the world in 1976, ’77, ’78 as an amateur bodybuilder,” Beckles said.
Beckles, a bronze and two-time silver medallist at the renowned Mr Universe contest and the Best Poser awardee at Mr World, said he was contented with his bodybuilding feats.
This product of St Leonard’s Boys’ came to national prominence in the late 1960s when he became the first and only bodybuilder to win the Mr Barbados junior and senior crowns in one night on the same show.
“I am very happy. I love bodybuilding but if I had to live my life all over again, I would do it over again with bodybuilding but I want everybody to know I am saying this: I would not represent Barbados. They have done nothing for me,” Beckles declared.
Beckles said he would never forget a response he got from a Government minister after winning a title at the prestigious Mr World.
“I remember coming from Mr World and calling a minister and telling that minister, ‘I am coming home tomorrow morning at 7 o’clock’. He told me, ‘Darcy, that’s too early for me; I will still be in my bed’, and nobody met me at the airport,” Beckles lamented.
On the other hand, Beckles said he was treated like royalty when he left Miami and went to Belize as the only passenger on a small jet plane.
“When I got to Belize, I had red carpet [treatment] with steel pan all through the town. Nobody in Barbados ever did anything like that for me; but I am happy with my life.
“In my opinion, I saw places that I would not have seen if I wasn’t a bodybuilder; so that makes me happy but, as I said to you, if I had to live my life over again, I wouldn’t represent Barbados in anything because they have done nothing for me.
“There are people who have just come out and got land and house, and all kinds of things like vans. Nobody ever gave me anything. All the Barbados Government ever did for me was to a give me a job and I am grateful for that, nothing else,” said the former National Sports Council (NSC) bodybuilding coach.
He also made it clear he doesn’t receive any financial benefits from the staging of the annual Darcy Beckles Invitational Classic, which bears his name.
“There is nothing for me. It is just my name . . . . Roger Boyce called me a morning here and said, ‘Beck, I’m going to run something on you. I want to name a show after you. How much is it going to cost me?’ I said, ‘Boycie, not a cent’.
“And I said to him, ‘Nobody ever thought before about recognizing me in Barbados, so if a one-man is going come and do it for me, to let people know who Darcy Beckles was, I am very happy for it’,” Beckles recalled.
Now retired after working for 34 consecutive years at the NSC, Beckles said he still went to the National Stadium on afternoons to train two aspiring bodybuilders, Kezia Gooding-Hinds of George Lamming Primary and Shaquille Lavine of Metropolitan, for next month’s Mr Schoolboy show.
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