Bodybuilding Federation Faces CAC Visa Challenge

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Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the Antigua & Barbuda Amateur Bodybuilding & Weightlifting Federation (ABABWF), Kimberly Ephraim, has defended the organisation against criticism that it failed to put measures in place to simplify the process for its athletes in need of Mexican visas ahead of this year’s CAC Championships.
Bodybuilders without US visas were told they would need a Mexican visa but that they (the athletes) would have to bear the cost of trying to acquire the visas.
“The host country that is selected has to go through an inspection period to ensure they can host the athletes in terms of hotels, venues and so on. With Mexico, a lot of information was delayed and when we received the final inspection report coming down from CAC stating that for sure, that yes, it’s Mexico and this is the venue and this is the situation, these are the fees and the requirements, it was also confirmed that Antiguans, not all Caribbean countries, if you don’t have a US visa you’re required to have a Mexican visa,” she said. 
One athlete and former bodybuilding champion Orson Martin, last week, said he will not be attending the Central American & Caribbean Championships owing to the high out-of-pocket costs associated with making the trip.
Ephraim could not confirm reports that Martin had been sanctioned by the federation but said it is the athlete’s right to withdraw from the team once he advises the federation in writing.
“It is Mr. Martin’s right to withdraw. It is his prerogative because he is the one left with the cost. He is the one buying the chicken breast at the supermarket. We were not made aware of an official withdrawal. It was told to us when it came over the radio or whatever the case was that happened over the weekend,” the PRO said. 
Ephraim went on to add that a number of other bodybuilders face a similar issue but have put measures in place as they pursue the required document.
“I know of other athletes who have been selected and who have reached out to sponsors to assist and I know that is not a situation that might be the case with everyone so if it is that you are in a situation where it is just not possible and there is more than one athlete going to Mexico but does not have a US visa, yes,” she said.
National champion, Kenny Jacobs, will lead the country’s team to Mexico.

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