by Carlena Knight
With the month of June being identified for the 2022 edition of the Bodybuilding National Championships, one executive member is expecting an even larger number of competitors.
Vice President of the Antigua and Barbuda Amateur Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Federation (ABABWF), Kimberly Percival, while speaking on the Good Morning JoJo sports show, was commenting on the sporting body’s 2022 calendar of events when she made those comments.
She says that although registration has not yet been officially opened, many athletes have already expressed an interest in competing.
“In my estimation, I see an increase in numbers from last year. There was a lot of people that were missing from the stage that have expressed their interest and their enthusiasm to get back into the gym and have been back in the gym, so I am expecting an increase from our numbers.
“I know the defending champions are working tremendously hard as well,” Percival said.
There were over 40 competitors in last year’s event.
Concerns were raised by some members of the executive following last year’s virtual event as several categories were either scrapped due to a lack of competitors or only had one contender.
The bodybuilding category was one event that was shockingly lacking last year, as it has long been one of the marquee events.
Numbers have declined steadily over the years, coming from an average of 25 where bodybuilders competed in four categories, namely heavyweight, light-heavy, middleweight and lightweight.
There was no heavyweight contender for the 2021 national championships with only one athlete competing in the bodybuilding category.
The number was a significant drop from the seven athletes who competed in the category in 2019.
Two other categories, body fitness and junior bodybuilding, were also dropped due to a lack of competitors.
Percival went on to outline a few pro-qualifier events that the sporting body is looking at to have athletes attend.
She explains while she doubts any athletes will attend the Giovanni Arenz Classic in Aruba in April, she does expect a few athletes will step forward for other competitions later down in the year.
“There are a few other options within the region that will be coming up. There is St Maarten that is coming up in the beginning of July. I think it’s from the first to the fifth.
“There will also be CAC that is slated in Barbados at the end of July which is the Federation’s tentative team pro-qualifier participation we have our eyes on. That is why nationals is slated for the time that it is.
“There is also Miami which should be having an event as well but I believe that’s in June but there are a few other pro-qualifying options,” Percival explained.
The first ever virtual competition for the group took place on August 28 via pay-per-view.
In keeping with Covid-19 protocols, fans were not permitted inside the venue at the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre.
The local body became the first sporting group to host a local pay-per-view event.