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Former Barbados hurdler Alexander Forde is the fittest man in the region, taking the title of Mr Caribbean International recently when the competition was staged at Hedonism II resort in Negril, Jamaica. Forde, 23, a personal trainer at Surfside Wellness Centre, took the overall title, BDS$5 000 and a five-night stay at Hedonism II from Jamaica’s Andre Walker and Nathaniel Goodwin of the United States. The other competitors were from Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, England, Guyana and The Bahamas. Forde won the local component on September 22, earning the right to test his fitness and physique against the regional competitors. He won the fitness challenge, which included a 50-metre truck pull; kayaking; a tractor tyre flip; obstacle course and a 50-metre sprint. His talent was a skit/dance depicting a track and field race at the Olympic Games. Confident with his fitness, he spent the week between the two shows working on his expression and interpersonal skills, as well as eliminating nervous gestures. A rather quiet and introverted person, Forde said he was quite confident in his knowledge as a personal trainer, but in doing the competition he challenged himself to be more outgoing and develop the skills to interact with his clients. “I try to motivate my clients to do more, and trying to push myself out of my comfort zone would be a good demonstration of what I expect of them,” Forde said. In Jamaica, he took a mere six minutes and 22 seconds to complete the fitness course, which included pulling a kayak with a woman in it along the beach; shuttle runs; a 200-metre return kayak row; a weighted step up, which included 25 reps with a 50-pound weight; the egg and spoon challenge; the tyre challenge; army crawl and sprint finish. The competitors were also assessed on their group dance routine, general interaction with the guests at the resort, swim and formal wear, and a question and answer segment. Walker took the title for Best Physique, but Forde won the People’s Choice Award, which was based on online voting and crowd response on the night of the show. “When I heard I won, I was ecstatic,” he said. “I enjoyed it.” The former junior national record holder in the 400-metre hurdles holds a Bachelor’s in exercise science with a minor in psychology from Illinois State University and hopes to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy next year.