By Carlena Knight
One local professional bodybuilder, Bernard Percival Jr, believes that despite the ongoing setbacks in the world of sports due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sport of bodybuilding and weightlifting will still be able to thrive.
Percival, after gaining his pro card in 2018, became the first Antiguan to win a pro-event last year as he claimed top honours in the open class of the Classic Men’s Physique at the IFBB Elite Pro Miami Grand Prix in Florida.
The former sportsman of the year, speaking on Friday’s Good Morning JoJo sports show, says he believes local athletes will take advantage of this downtime.
“I don’t think we will have a setback. I think a lot of athletes will use the time off to improve their techniques and get a little better and those who may be coming in the first time who may not have had a year or two training under their belt will get some more time with training. Put a little muscle here or work on their posing presentation, stuff like that. So, I feel next year will be back in full swing and it shouldn’t affect us at all, I don’t believe so,” said Percival.
He believes it is on the regional and international scene, especially for professional athletes like himself, where the true dent will occur.
“A lot of shows only really get put on because the promoters are trying to make some income as well, and so right now they can’t have any audiences … so a lot of them are not making any money, they are just doing it maybe for the love of it,” he said.
“So, a lot of the shows I find may decrease a bit if the regulations don’t ease up a little bit so you can have an actual audience at these events because of course that and the exposure they get, that’s how they make their revenues and of course being able to offer athletes prize monies and stuff like that and so forth.
“If that can’t happen, that’s going to be really rough for us and may put bodybuilding down for a couple of months but I am pretty sure at least by 2022 that we will be back on track fully, back to normal more or less and get the pandemic under control.”
Not only will there be a decrease in shows, Percival revealed that his personal career has taken a hit in regards to sponsorship.
He says it will be very tough for him to travel due to Covid restrictions in some countries which would ask him to quarantine; something he says without financial support would be a hindrance.
“There are folks who assist me on a private level and I know everything is hard for everybody. I haven’t even asked them any questions at this point in time because I know everybody’s business has taken a hit, everybody probably had half of their income reduced so it’s just playing the waiting game pretty much,” he said.
“We have no choice but to wait it out, hope for the best and hope some people can recoup everything well and we can get some money coming in and of course hopefully do well in the future and get some sponsorship,” Percival continued.
“It does seem very slim. I am just hoping for the best realistically. We have no idea what’s going to happen over the next few months, maybe the next year or so, it’s tough for us as professional athletes because we can’t compete locally, we have to be travelling and the quarantine thing is not much of an option for me. I can’t come back and can’t work for two weeks. I need my income.”
Despite it all, Percival who finished 6th at the IFBB Elite Pro World Championships in Spain last year remains optimistic of the future.