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By Neto Baptiste

Antigua and Barbuda’s newest Elite Pro bodybuilder, Melissa Seaforth, has credited her sister, Michelle Seaforth, for inspiring her recent success in the bikini fitness category of the Central American & Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships held in the Dominican Republic.

Melissa became the country’s ninth pro spanning five years after topping her class and moving on to capture the overall title at the 2020 instalment of the annual event held last Sunday.

“She is the reason why I even went to CAC because, to be quite honest, I was not in the best condition about two or three months out when I decided to dial in and continue even though I didn’t see the process happening fast enough,” she said.

“I did lose my job in October and the day after I said, ‘Michelle, I need to do this show because this is the only thing I have to look forward to but I don’t feel ready’, and she said ‘no, you are going to do this’. She pushed me and every time I said ‘Michelle, I don’t think this was going to happen’, she said ‘no Melissa you are going’. I would say, ‘but this is COVID Michelle’, and she would say ‘you’re still going’. So I really have to thank her for motivating me and pushing me to continue and in the end it was worth it,” she added. 

Melissa said that after getting to the final round of the competition and realizing she had placed in the top two, lifted a weight from her shoulders.

“When they called third I was already happy because I knew I had beaten my placement from last year — which was the plan — to come in better condition and place better and hopefully win my weight class. So, when I heard third place I was really happy, and then when they called me for the win I was speechless, to be quite honest,” the athlete said.

The bikini fitness competitor said that despite the obvious challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CAC championships was of a considerably high standard.

“All of the athletes looked amazing backstage and I would have had a chance to actually watch a few of them the day before. A lot of athletes don’t like to watch the competition before, but I actually do enjoy it because it doesn’t affect me in terms of my confidence. This CAC, I think, was more competitive even than last year; it didn’t affect my confidence, but I never thought I would have done so well,” she said.

Melissa was amongst a three-member team which also included Randy Christopher in the Classic Physique category and Brad Benjamin who competed in Men’s Physique. Christopher finished sixth in his class while Benjamin, who was competing in his first international show, reportedly gave a good account of himself.

She joins her sister Michelle, Bernard Percival Jr, Elvis Bailey, Kimberly Percival, Leanna Carrington Sher-Rhonda Greenaway and Gena Jules as the other Elite Pro bodybuilders on island. Rosian Warrington, who was the first to turn pro in 2015, is an IFBB Pro League athlete.

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