Charting the course for Brazil: (From left) BABBFF president Dr Alfred Sparman, men’s physique champion Hadley Hoyte and head coach Roger Boyce, discussing the way forward. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
The Barbados Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BABBF) is footing the bill for this weekend’s Arnold Classic Brazil, the next frontier for the best bodybuilders and physique competitors in this country.
At a Press briefing yesterday afternoon, BABBFF president Dr Alfred Sparman announced that the federation was delighted to dispatch a nine-member team that will leave tomorrow for Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous and wealthiest city.
“We are delighted to send the team to Brazil, all expenses paid. We are looking after them after the cancellation of last year’s Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships. It is about the athletes and what we can do for them. If you have a dream, we will help and the athletes are our priority.
“I am sure that the athletes are excited about this opportunity. The sport is expensive and the federation is happy to fund this trip. As the leader of the organisation, I am happy to see the athletes get this exposure to a high-quality global event.
“Yes, we didn’t get the chance to send 28 athletes to CAC, which is just a regional event, but now eight get the opportunity to go internationally and I think, it is great,” he said.
Sparman told the DAILY NATION that the trip to Brazil was a blessing in disguise after the 45th edition of the CAC Championships in Mexico had to be aborted following a powerful 7.1 earthquake that rocked Central Mexico, collapsing homes and bridges across hundreds of miles.
National bikini fitness queen Shakira Doughlin is far and away the most experienced member of the team. In the last two years, she has made 18 appearances on the stage – 11 in 2016 and seven last year.
There are two newcomers in fast-rising bikini fitness competitor Vanessa Jones and heavyweight bodybuilder Kirk Alleyne. Jones had an impressive 2017 season with three second place finishes behind Doughlin while Alleyne, a nephew of former Caribbean champion David “Noddy” Alleyne, has been knocking at the door the last few seasons.
There are three men’s physique entrants in Barbados champion Hadley Hoyte, Jamil Jones and Deono James while Dionne Thompson and the reliable Ramona Morgan will compete in body fitness.
Ramon Broomes, a 27-year-old personal trainer, who won last year’s Mr Bridgetown, will join Alleyne on the bodybuilding stage in Brazil.
Hoyte, dynamite in a small package, said he was looking forward to this weekend.
“I am calm and cool. Not excited now, but I will be when I head to Brazil. I have improved a lot over the past year and I think I am on target,” he said.
The 1998 and 1999 Mr Barbados Roger Boyce, who has been selected as head coach, says Brazil should be an eye-opener.
“It is new territory, as we do not know what to expect. However, I expect the team to do well. This is a chance for us to assess where we are, if we are behind, or if we are on par, but for me it is a good eye-opener for me to get out there and see where the game is really at.
“It is an elite pro event since the [National Physique Committee] and the [International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness] have separated, so we just don’t know who we will butt up on, but the guys are in shape and we are ready to battle. Whatever we face, we will deal with, we are going out there to compete,” Boyce said.
Boyce said he was expecting Doughlin and Hoyte to lead the charge in Sao Paolo.
“Shakira has plenty of experience and Hoyte has established himself as a force. Ramon Broomes is also looking very good, so I think that some of the guys should be in the money.” (MK)