By Neto Baptiste
Veteran bikini fitness competitor Kimberly Percival said persevering at the Darcy Beckles Diamond Classic in Barbados last weekend, brought an end to what has been a long and often frustrating journey for her.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Percival said she almost didn’t make it to the Darcy Beckles, owing to a number of issues.
“I had surgery in February and my coaches almost did not want me to do the show. They basically recommended I take the time off for the year and allow my body to recover because everything was much harder this time around, and we had to push diet and exercise much harder than usual,” she said.
“I feel like my body was at a place where it needed a break after competing all of last year and all of the year before, and when I realized I had won my class and I was called to go up for overall – and we already knew that the top three for overall would have automatically gotten the opportunity to apply for their card – there was this level of relief and appreciation. I’ve been fighting for it for some time and I was just speechless,” she added.
Percival finished second in the bikini fitness overall category to qualify for an Elite IFBB Pro Card. Antigua and Barbuda made a clean sweep of the top three spots in the overall with Michelle Seaforth claiming the number one prize and Leanna Carrington finishing third. SherRhonda Braithwaite ended third in the open class for body fitness.
Percival, who has dominated her category here for the past five years, said she will now take some time to recover before launching fully into what she expects will be a challenging professional career.
“This is a whole other level where we are coming in as small fish in a really big pond, but that’s what we been working for and when you get to the top tier of being an amateur, then the only logical thing is to graduate, to keep challenging yourself and be able to push; so that’s what we want and that’s what we’re here for. We’re looking to put Antigua on the map on this circuit and that’s the goal,” she said.
Asked if there was ever a time when she thought of giving up, Percival said she was fuelled by the belief that success was just around the corner.
“Any show that I do – local or not; and first, second or otherwise – I always make it my point to speak with the judges after the show and I’ve always gotten very good feedback whether it is just tweak that a little bit, bring conditioning; but my feedback had been to come a little tighter. In previous years I’ve gotten, add a little size, so I always get the feedback and then make the adjustment and I know I was edging closer to it,” she said.
Percival confirmed she has officially written to the Antigua and Barbuda Bodybuilding & Weightlifting Federation indicating her desire to accept the Elite IFBB pro card.