By Michael Benjamin
President of the Guyana Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (GABBFF), Frank Tucker is adamant that despite undergoing severe challenges, the GABBFF has enjoyed a favourable year.
He is also optimistic that in the new dispensation that his executives will be able to incorporate rural, as well as participation at the level of secondary schools. Tucker made these remarks moments after he had witnessed the official handing over of two airline tickets to senior bodybuilding champion, Mark Perry at the offices of Caribbean Airline, Robb Street and Avenue of the Republic Georgetown, yesterday morning by their representative Kathy Shuffler-Ten Pow.
Perry had won the 2008 Senior Bodybuilding championships held August 15 last and some sections of the media had recently reported that he was disgruntled at not receiving his prize that included two airline tickets to a Caribbean destination of his choice. President of the GABBFF, Frank Tucker, labeled the mix-up as very unfortunate while reiterating that his organization never meant to shortchange Perry.
He said he was in the dark over the whole issue that stemmed from an administrative error. Tucker also said that after he read of the issue in the newspapers he immediately went about rectifying the situation, the concomitant result being the presentation exercise yesterday.
In an invited comment moments after receiving his prize Perry said that he was indeed happy that the issue has been amicably resolved. He said that he is still to make up his mind where he will spend the vacation.
Meanwhile, Tucker commended his executive for a year of hard work despite the many challenges that they had encountered. He pointed out that the Federation’s programme got off to a late start because of an administrative controversy that was swiftly and amicably resolved. After these matters had received the attention of the executive committee, the calendar of activities got off to a late start, in March, with the Hugh Ross Classic.
Tucker said that initially this competition was not a part of the Federation’s itinerary but GABBFF executives voted in its favour to pay homage to Ross who had done exceptionally well in becoming Guyana’s first professional bodybuilder.
The GABBFF president said that the tournament was open to all bodybuilders, thus providing worthwhile competition for members of the fraternity.
Tucker further lauded the efforts of the executive body in the successful staging of the Mr Physique and Intermediate tournaments. He explained that his organization had decided to merge both tournaments to facilitate the preparation of the senior bodybuilders identified to participate at Central American and Caribbean games slated for the Bahamas on September 25 last.
However, despite the valiant efforts of his executives, Tucker revealed that in the end the local bodybuilders were unable to attend the championships. He said that the team was selected a bit late and had little time to address visa matters.
Tucker further said that the only other option left was to use a circuitous route through Jamaica that in the end would have resulted in the local team arriving in the Bahamas after the tournament would have started. The GABBFF was, therefore forced to abort all plans. In the end, only Tucker, who was already in possession of the travel document, could have attended the games. He did so in the capacity of an international judge.
“Notwithstanding the team’s inability to travel to the Bahamas, I believe that it was a good year for bodybuilding,” Tucker said. He said that two important milestones have been accomplished for the year. The first occurred after the Federation had taken the initiative to stage the Mr Physique and the Intermediate tournaments in the Ancient County.
He said the idea was to incorporate the participation of a wide cross section of bodybuilders in the rural area that otherwise would have experienced difficulties traveling to the capital city. “This is a plus in terms of our developmental drive to incorporate the participation of bodybuilders countrywide,” Tucker said.
The other plus for the Federation was Sylvan Gardner’s promotion to the professional ranks. Tucker said that the efforts of Ross must be commended in ensuring that Gardner received this opportunity. The young bodybuilder had opted to travel to the USA instead of participating in the Mr Guyana championships.
In the end the gamble paid off after Gardner captured two gold medals, one in the bantamweight class and the overall Mr Musclemania title. This is a very important milestone for Gardner who, with this achievement, has earned his gold card, after Ross, the only other Guyanese to achieve this feat.
The GABBFF boss is optimistic that the New Year will see many exciting accomplishments for his organization. He said that his executives would be concentrating on recruiting new talent from the rural areas as well as the schools. “There is a lot of untapped talent just waiting to be nurtured and we intend to get to these people,” Tucker promised.
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