Martin: I struggled going into national championships

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Men’s bodybuilding champion, Ollyn Martin, revealed that he struggled going into last Saturday’s national championships put on by the Antigua and Barbuda Bodybuilding & Weightlifting Federation (ABBWF).
The athlete, who was adjudged overall men’s winner after taking the heavyweight class at the Multipurpose & Exhibition Cultural Centre, is hoping to recover well in time for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships in Mexico next month.
“I lost a lot of weight in the last week going into the competition which is usually a no-no but I think I lost about 15 to 20 pounds in the last week so I knew my body wasn’t really at 100 percent but going into CAC it would be more of just getting myself ready and feeling confident that I don’t have to suffer such a great weight loss in a short period of time,” he said.
Martin, who has won the title on two other occasions, defeated two-time lightweight champion Elvis Bailey and Rodney George of the middleweight class to hoist the coveted trophy.
Despite the pre-competition issues however, Martin believes that once he peaks, there will be no stopping him.
“I had a few setbacks in my prep but I am still thankful that I was able to bring home the gold this year but hopefully I’ll be fully ready for CAC. Once I am in shape then I am in shape. I am not like the other bodybuilders that peak on or peak off like that but I am not fully in shape as yet but once I am in shape I progressively get better. I think it’s just a matter of being disciplined and sticking to what you have to do,” the athlete said. 
This year’s competition was however without two former champions in Orson Martin and Kenny Jacobs who are both still serving one-year suspensions imposed last year for what the federation dubbed as breaches in its code of conduct.
Martin is anticipating their return for next year’s championships.
“I love competition, I love when I have to fight to win so I would definitely be looking for that and I would definitely be looking forward to win that as well so I hope everybody comes back. I even want Steve Williams to come back so that we could have a big showdown,” the champion said.
Kimberly Ephraim, who is also no stranger to the stage, successfully defended her Bikini Fitness title while Sharie Brown won the newly introduced Bikini Wellness title.
Bernard Percival Jr. wowed the crowd once again in the Classic Bodybuilding category securing the title he won at last year’s championships, while Dale Gardner walked away with the Masters Bodybuilding title.
In the Junior Bodybuilding category, Jonte Barnes defended his crown, claiming the award for the second consecutive year while Ojay Maria-Harris took home the prize for the best body in the Body Fitness section.
Anthony Nurse took home the top prize as the overall winner in the Men’s Physique category. The highlight of the evening however arguably was the return of one the sports pioneers, Hazel Went 55, who later claimed the Masters Bikini title.

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