By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Bodybuilding & Weightlifting Federation (ABBWF), Dave George, has labelled the recent achievement of Classic Physique competitor Bernard Percival Jr. as “absolutely wonderful” and something that should be heralded by the entire nation.
“It is something should all be proud of. It is an achievement that should not be taken lightly. What he has done, coming from a small twin-island state like ours is absolutely wonderful, so qualifying for the World Championships is Spain in November and having been invited to the Arnold Classic Europe in September, those are two major accomplishments in themselves so it’s been a wonderful time for bodybuilding in Antigua and Barbuda and it’s something we all should be proud of,” he said.
Percival Jr., two weekends ago, created history when he became the first national bodybuilder to win at a professional show when he captured his Classic Physique division before moving on to win the overall division at the Miami Grand Prix.
Just days later, the athlete’s request to compete at the Arnold Classic was accepted, presenting him with the opportunity of becoming the first Antiguan to compete at the prestigious championships.
George is hoping that Percival’s recent success will inspire others ahead of this year’s national championships slated for August 24 at the Multipurpose & Exhibition Cultural Center at Perry Bay.
“If they are not inspired then I don’t know what else is going to inspire them because if you look at him, he started training since 2003, and 14 years after in 2017 he made his debut on stage; so it shows that you have to put in the hard work. It is a body of work that is necessary. You have to be committed and disciplined to the sport so I am hoping that the youngsters coming through will look at him and sort of emulate him and make that determination that if they really want to accomplish something like he has done, then it is important that they put in the hard work,” he said.
The bodybuilding boss said plans are on course for the staging of this year’s nationals, but has urged patrons not to wait until last minute to acquire their tickets for the show.
“Things are coming along smoothly. We just need the ticket sales to pick up; but as we are accustomed to, the sales do not pick up until the last week before the show; so we know that is the trend in Antigua; so we’re not panicking at this moment; but other than that, the administrative issues are coming along quite nicely,” he said.
The nationals is set to start at 4:00 p.m. and will host a record breaking 60 competitors this year.