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By Neto Baptiste

The Antigua and Barbuda Amateur Bodybuilding & Weightlifting Federation (ABBWF) has cancelled its national championships after having postponed the event back in April due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The competition, originally scheduled for June 6, had been moved to August 29 back in April as the federation sought to weather the storm created by the deadly virus.

President of the federation Dave George has, however, said that following recent consultations with the athletes, the body was left with no other option than to cancel the event.

“Based on all the restrictions that are in place and the protocols we have to adhere to, the executive along with the athletes had a discussion and basically, the athletes were very much unanimous in their decision that we cancel the show based on all the uncertainties,” he said.

The inability of athletes to adequately prepare for the championships, George said, also weighed heavily on the federation’s decision.

“It’s not like cricket or football where you could just meet in a couple of days and put on a match, you have to give the athletes a certain number of weeks to prep properly for a show on a particular date and we are basically at that window right now where it is touch and go so we have to make a decision now. We can’t have the athletes in a holding pattern any longer and especially when gyms are still not allowed to open and you cannot prepare for a show properly if you don’t have gyms at your disposal to train,” he said.

The bodybuilding boss said the federation even considered hosting the show behind closed doors.

“We looked at all factors, all major issues on the table and we only had two options, one was to either cancel or possibly put on a competition that would have been broadcast virtually but the athletes were not in favour of that option where we would have had to broadcast the show via that medium with no patrons in the seat. National, as you know, is our premier event annually and we had other events as part of our calendar of course but all of them were derailed because of Covid,” he said.

In a previous interview, George said athletes would have been able to opt out of the nationals with a full refund of their registration fees, given the situation. It is however unclear how many athletes took advantage of the offer.

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