By Neto Baptiste
Bernard Percival Jr. will achieve yet another historic feat for bodybuilding in Antigua and Barbuda by becoming the first to represent this country at the Annual Arnold Sports Festival when that international competition is staged in Barcelona, Spain in September.
The Classic Physique competitor, who received confirmation of his acceptance to attend this year’s championships on Thursday, said the feeling was overwhelming.
“This is actually the second time I am actually a little nervous because when I got the invitation it was like a slightly overwhelming feeling and a little bit of pressure, pretty much for our section of the IFBB. Kimberly [Percival] mentioned the split in the IFBB league in 2018 [but] since that split, the two biggest shows that we can enter or participate in – with the World Championships, of course, being number one and secondary – would be the Arnold Classic in Europe; it’s pretty much like the top of the top,” he said.
Percival recently qualified for the World Championships after he claimed the Classic Physique and overall titles at the Miami Grand Prix last weekend. It was also the first time that an Antiguan bodybuilder would have triumphed at a professional competition.
This latest news, however, has forced a change in his routine.
“The preparation is always pretty much the same. However, where I had planned to take a week or two and relax a little bit because I had some more time, now I no longer have that time so I am taking time off from the gym until Monday, and from there I am going full steam ahead,” the athlete said.
The reigning national champion said he expects competition at the Arnold Sports Festival to be of the highest standard.
“As far as I am aware, the top maybe three or four competitors I have been following should be present at that show so I am expecting just the very best of the best. It would be a good chance to show exactly how I stack up against the top guys,” Percival said.
The Ninth Annual Arnold Sports Festival Europe will be staged from September 20-22.