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By Neto Baptiste

Newly elected vice president of the Antigua and Barbuda Amateur Bodybuilding & Weightlifting Federation (ABABWF) and bikini fitness pro, Kimberly Percival, believes the body’s biggest challenging going forward would be the successful hosting of its national championships given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think our biggest challenge is going to be coming up with a concept that will allow us to host nationals this year within the social distancing protocols but still somehow, raise funds because we want to ensure that the athletes have an opportunity to cross the stage and still give our sponsors mileage, so I think that is going to be one of the main things we need to do in coming up with a game plan and finalise in the next coming months,” she said.

Former women’s bodybuilder, Hazel Went, emerged victorious by a vote of 43-19 over incumbent Dave George when the body held elections on Saturday.

Percival, who was unchallenged in her bid to become vice president after lone challenger Ollyn Martin dropped out of the race, said the new team has already been assembled following Saturday’s vote.

“I could mention that Melissa Seaforth has been appointed as public relations officer since I have now transitioned to VP. The assistant treasurer that was elected has stepped down and we have opted to replace her with Jonte Barnes who is an active bodybuilder and he was actually running against Dwayne for treasurer and so we thought that given his line of work that it would be good for him to come under Dwayne and be mentored for the position. We have also appointed Joseph Meade or Merrick from Torturer [Gym] to what we are calling events and athlete coordinator and we have appointed Steve Williams as his assistant,” she said.

The IFBB Elite Pro athlete who had previously served as the federation’s PRO, revealed that she had always dreamt of serving higher up the executive chain, but felt the time was not right given her status as a competitor on the national level at the time.

“I personally felt like there was a conflict of interest holding that level of position while I was still actively competing. There was something that just didn’t sit right with me competing on stage and still running the same federation putting on the event and that is not to say there were biases there but I did not want that. I do feel like I have a lot to contribute to the sport, I’ve been assisting for a while and I just felt like it was time,” Percival said.

Marvette Richards was unchallenged in her bid for a second term secretary. Another pro athlete, She-Rhonda Braithwaite, was elected assistant secretary by a vote of 44-17 over Sharon Henry. There was victory as well for Dwayne Edwards by a vote of 41-20 over Jonte Barnes for the position of treasurer. Josina France was unchallenged with the post of (assistant) treasurer.