By Sean Devers
Despite a late start and the no-show of Guest Speaker, Director of Sports Neil Kumar, the Guyana Amateur Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation’s (GABFF) Novice and Intermediate Bodybuilding championships provided plenty of entertainment at the Theatre Guild on Sunday night.
Albert Jordon of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) won all three events he participated in and captured the prestigious Mr. Physique Overall title.
Urged on by a vociferous crowd of just under 300 which included his wife and only son, the soldier from the West Bank of Demerara easily marched to victory in the Novice and Intermediate middle class (between 154-165 pounds) before taking the coveted overall title following a pose-off with the other two division winners.
Heavy Class (over 165lbs) champion Jaffar Mohammad from Upper Demerara Barbell Club and Novices’ Light Class (under 154lbs) winner Total Fitness’ Lester ‘Thug Life’ Haywood, were also very popular in their respective categories and the overall pose down between the trio sparked ‘life’ into the closing stages of the evening’s proceedings.
Sean Henry of Buddy’s finished second in both the Novices and Intermediate Middle Class events. Haywood took the runner-up spot while Mohammad finished third in the overall pose-off.
Fitness trainer Kurtis McKenzie was the only participant in the Men’s fitness competition. He produced a sizzling energy-fill routine, demonstrating stamina, strength and agility, while competing with a broken toe.
Only Justine Lee and Tashanna Forde competed for the Miss Body Fitness competition and after posing in the Bikini and whole suites rounds, Lee was declared the winner.
The 34-year-old Jordon told Kaieteur Sports after his championship-winning performance that he has been involved in the sport since 1992 and said his dream is to participate in the Mr. Olympia by the next 10 years. He was the crowd’s favourite from the time he first stepped on the stage. His graceful posing, well sculptured body and confidence made him a predictable winner.
The event was graced by the presence of internationally recognised Guyanese bodybuilder Hugh Ross who executed an impromptu posing routine.
The USA based Ross, who returned home for a brief visit and graced the championship, advised ladies who do not want to build muscle, to get involved in the Miss fitness competitions and said that future competitions will also have a category in which females will be judged modeling sports wear.
“Many times you hear girls say they don’t want to get into body building because they don’t want to look big, strong and hard but there are many different categories of competition for females, some of which don’t even require excessive weights training or building too much mass. Fitness should be a lifestyle and I know in the future girls can come out with their Hockey or Cricket uniforms and be judged on that. We want everyone to get involved in making their bodies look better and becoming fitter and healthier,” Ross, Guyana’s top Muscle Mania participant told the gathering.
The competition concluded just before 23:00hrs and the powerfully built and extremely ‘ripped’ Ross performed the Master of Ceremonies duties.
GABBFF President Frank Tucker told the audience that bodybuilding is the ‘mother of all sports’ since in every physical sport you are required to build your body to remain strong and fit. He also disclosed that it was pleasing to see athletes from other sports involved in GABBFF competitions.
Heavyweight boxer Mitchell Rogers represented Total Fitness Gym and finished second to Mohammad in both the Novices and Intermediate Heavy Class competitions. National sprinter Alika Morgan was scheduled to take part in the Miss Fitness competition but missed the ‘weight-in’ earlier in the day due to athletics duties.
“It is really good to see crossovers….when you look at many International athletes you could mistake some of them for bodybuilders, dispelling the myth that Bodybuilding causes individuals to become slow and tight,” Tucker stated.
Tucker, an International Federation of Bodybuilding (IBB) accredited Judge, informed that the Novice championships provided ‘new-born’ talent and encouraged more people to get involved in bodybuilding and utilise the many home gyms around the country.
The GABBFF top man also disclosed that his association promotes a healthy lifestyle and strives at all times for ‘clean’ competitions since health is a major consideration.
“We want clean competitions and urge competitors to work hard and follow a proper diet and not use illegal performance enhancing drugs, since this could be dangerous to your health,” Tucker said.
The 51-year-old muscle-bound Ross had the large section of ladies in the crowd screaming their approval when he took off his shirt to expose his massive ‘cut and ripped’ frame. His moves were elegant, as powerful, and must have been an inspiration to the ‘new kids’ on the block.
To provide further entertaining after the Men’s Fitness routine (which would have been done for the first time) was quashed due to the lack of more participants, Sylvan Gardner, who is set to make his professional debut in Miami on June 21 in the Mr. Muscle Mania Universe, also did some guest posing and with the right work and training, looks well on his way to becoming Guyana’s next top International Bodybuilder.
GDF Staff Sergeant Sherlon Rigby, who won the Novices and Intermediate competitions in 2007, was also a guest poser and showed there is plenty of bodybuilding talent in the Army. Timeon Mendonca, who won last year’s competition in Berbice, has migrated.
Nine gyms (Buddy’s, Curtis, GDF, Guyana Motor Racing, Gandhi Sales and Investment, Muscle Tex, Studio 2000, Upper Demerara Barbell Club and Total Fitness) participated in the event.
Ross, who served in as GDF Officer from 1980 to 1989, informed that GABBFF which was founded in the late 1970’s, has produced bodybuilders who have reached Regional and International standard. He explained that this year the Association plans to take the sport to new areas and has scheduled three competitions (including one for mixed pairs and another for juniors) for the rest of the year.
The senior national bodybuilding competition is set August 9 at the National Cultural Centre and anyone desirous of providing sponsorship for Gardener as he prepares for his professional debut in Miami next month can contact the GABBFF.
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