Donald Sinclair, Yale Holder and Eustace Abraham reflects
By Franklin Wilson
The bodybuilding fraternity in Guyana and the diaspora continues to reflect on the passing of former
Guyana Amateur Body Building and Fitness Federation (GABBFF) Honorary Lifetime Member, President and first IFBB Judge, George Albert Somercille Marshall who passed away on Tuesday last.
Marshall has been described by many as one of the foundation pillars whose efforts and contributions on and off the stage have made an indelible mark in the advances the sport has made over the years up to present.
Kaieteur Sport sought the comments of former Presidents Yale Holder who resides in Canada, Donald Sinclair and athlete, Eustace Abraham who still competes.
Sinclair noted that with the passing of Marshall, it is clear that a stalwart of the bodybuilding community has departed this space.
“George and I shared an association in the domain of bodybuilding that spanned more than 40 years. It seems just a few short weeks ago (in fact it was close to 40 years ago) that George rode up on his motor cycle to my Queenstown residence to get me interested in playing a role in the then association. He had a very clear vision of what needed to happen for bodybuilding to move forward and also knew clearly who would be assets in that process (those who were to be enlisted) and who would be obstacles (and those were to be circumvented).”
Sinclair further reflected that in the 1970s, gyms were essentially bottom house affairs – places that looked more like factories or foundries minus the fire – a far cry from the modern carpeted floors with high tech equipment that are part of the modern setting.
“George was seeded in that early era of bodybuilding. Gyms were few in number – a sprinkling in Georgetown, Berbice, Linden and West Demerara. Venues for national contests often meant the Critchlow Labour College in Woolford Avenue or Luckhoo Pool on Easter Monday.”
Sinclair recalled that Marshall’s dedication to the sport shone through in those primitive beginnings: “Soon, he became Guyana’s first IFBB-accredited judge, and was Guyana representative on numerous CAC judging panels. At the Kingsrow Barbell Club, he continued to train alongside and coach many of the Guyana’s top bodybuilding legends. Even after he ceased to be active in bodybuilding administration, George never missed a bodybuilding contest. Sleep well George, the body is tired, the brain needs a rest.”
Eustace ‘Robo Cop’ Abraham remembered Marshall as being a very frank and outspoken individual: “He was sometimes pessimistic but with good intentions in other words, he is the kind of person, who says things that we would think about, and this is why some people found it difficult to understand him. We got along well because I understood him. He was what I term, ‘Old School’. He was a fair and knowledgeable Judge. He will be greatly missed.”
Another former president, Yale Holder noted that Marshall dedicated more than 20 years to the sport beginning as a competitor before taking on the challenge of becoming an administrator. Holder remembered Marshall taking on progressively more challenging roles in order to develop the sport he loved.
In the administrative realms, Marshall took on the role of a General Council member, then as Treasurer, General Secretary and President. His contributions to the sport was recognized by the then GABBFF under Holder and he was conferred with the title of Honorary Lifetime Member of the GABBFF.
“On a more personal note, in the early stages of my involvement in the sport George asked me to join the federation to assist him in its development. He was a mentor when I initially joined, showing me the ropes and giving guide with his vast experience and knowledge. He gave me additional responsibilities helping to elect me to General Secretary where we worked closely together to elevate the sport.
“He was also very involved in the activities of Kingsrow Barbell club, with coaching and development activities for up and coming bodybuilders and general fitness fanatics. He also supported our sister sport the powerlifting federation, serving as a Judge and MC for many of its activities. His dedication to the development of our sport will surely be missed. We have lost a brother in iron, a true stalwart and one of our most enduring contributors.”
The Funeral Service for the late George Albert Somercille Marshall is set for Thursday February 18. Viewing of the body will take place at Merriman’s Funeral Home from 12:00hrs to 12:45hrs. Funeral Service will be held at St. George’s Cathedral from 14:00hrs with Tributes beginning at 13:00hrs.
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