By Franklin Wilson
Muscles that were pumped up and ready to flex on stage in a competitive and entertaining way have now been deflated, not by choice but by design as the Coronavirus that has rocked the world have taken its toll on the sport of bodybuilding.
The Guyana Amateur Body Building and Fitness Federation (GABBFF), like other sports associations and federations would have to endure its fair share of setbacks as next month’s Intermediate and Mr. Berbice Classic which were scheduled for the Ancient County have been called off.
Athletes would have to prepare themselves over a couple of months at least to be in tip top shape for competition but COVID – 19 has had the final say in making the return of the sports to Berbice not possible, at least for this year.
GABBFF President, Keavon Bess spoke with Kaieteur Sport about the impact this world pandemic would have on the sport this year even as the Federation had grand plans. At least there would have been some positives for the year as the body was able to run off, successfully so, the GABBFF Mr. Novice (won by Nicholas Albert) and Mr. Linden Classic (won by Omisi Williams) which were sponsored by Fitness Express and Samuel Hardy on Saturday February 15 last at the Lichas Hall in the Bauxite Mining Town of Linden.
The sport made a grand return to Linden and the fans were very appreciative on the night as they supported from start to finish. That excitement on and off the stage is now in jeopardy and might not be even possible until the end of the year as even the Senior Nationals, which was set for July month end would be affected.
Concomitantly, regional and international championships have been affected, the IFBB being forced to cancel all of its competitions that were scheduled for March and April.
Bess informed that athletes would appreciate the current circumstances in which the world has been forced to operate in as a result of the coronavirus: “And as a result, we would not be able to do the intermediate nor the Mr. Berbice Classic, we know that for a fact.
Relative to the senior competition, we had it set for July month end, we would have been glad to do it then so that we could have prepared for CAC which is tentatively scheduled for August 27 – 30 but I rather suspect that even CAC might change their dates probably to later in the year or even cancel 2020’s competition.”
Bess noted that that has not been confirmed as the dates still remains the same for now (Aug. 27 – 30) but given all that have been taking place the world over, might very well have an impact on new dates having to be set, “We just have to wait and see how this unfolds, ” he suggested.
There is a possibility that the GABBFF marquee competition, seniors might very well be held towards the end of 2020.
“We are going to move seniors probably to the end of the year but if the situation gets worst we might have to scrap all the competitions for 2020.”
The challenge of procuring sponsorship is another hurdle that the GABBFF, like the other federations and associations would have to face whenever the COVID -19 Pandemic is brought under control and life returns to normalcy.
“Considering the issue of going after sponsorship, with the business atmosphere now as a result, firstly, elections and now coronavirus, getting
sponsors to come out of their pockets is going to be a task for us. Even after all of this is done and brought under control, persons would still be reeling from financial hardships and businesses would still be recovering; so it’s going to be a challenge to garner sponsorship to pull off a good competition.”
Bess did however note that if things return to some semblance of normalcy in a short period of time, then seniors might be possible by year end.
“But if the situation does not change to give the athletes and us enough time to prepare, we might have to cancel competitions for the remainder of this year and come better in 2021.”
In light of all the happenings, Bess said that he is encouraging all athletes to adhere to and practice all the necessary hygienic measures that have been prescribed by the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health, by extension.
“And to practice as well social distancing or for some persons physical distancing, because at this time you need some amount of social communication and social bonding to keep the sanity basically, so let’s call it physical distancing. We encourage athletes to continue to work out but in a safe and secured environment, probably at home; if you do not have all the equipment, do free hand exercising, do a lot of cardio, keep your body as strong as possible.”
Bess is also encouraging athletes to keep focused so that when these challenges are over and its time for competition, “We can bounce back and show the coronavirus that we are strong and we have conquered and we are still here, better and mightier than ever.”
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