By Neto Baptiste
An eight-member team, including national bikini champion, Kimberly Percival (formerly Ephraim), will be competing at the Darcy Beckles Diamond Cup slated for 6 July in Barbados.
This is according to President of the Antigua and Barbuda Bodybuilding & Weightlifting Federation, Dave George, who said that the pro qualifier will be Percival’s only show this year.
“In fact, the Darcy Beckles Diamond Cup which is a pro qualifier, will be her only show for the year and there is a reason for that. She hasn’t had an off season in a couple of years and what we noticed and Kimberly herself has noticed, is that even though she is as good as she can be at the local level, once she gets to the next level it requires a different type of conditioning,” he said.
“What she realised is that she has to be bigger and you have to come in with a sharper condition so all the girls that had beaten her in Santo Domingo last year, Mexico City and the Giovanni Classic in Aruba, came in a little bit bigger in terms of size and a little bit more sharp in terms of conditioning,” he added.
This means also that Percival will not be defending her bikini fitness crown which she won last year in the nationals and by extension, will not represent the country at the CAC Bodybuilding Championships slated for 12-16 September in Puerto Rico.
Reigning national men’s champion, Ollyn Martin (bodybuilding), will also compete at this year’s Darcy Beckles Diamond Cup. He will be joined by Anthony Nurse (men’s physique), Sher-Rhonda Braithwaite ((body fitness), Leanna Carrington (bikini), Melissa Seaforth (bikini), Michelle Seaforth (bikini) and Keva Lloyd (body fitness).
George said all of the athletes have been put through the required scrutiny by local judges ahead of the pro qualifier.
“Even though, again, it is not a national team selected by us representing the federation to that extent, we have set up screenings and we’ve had two out of three already; incidentally the last one is tomorrow [Saturday]. We have to make sure that you come before the judges so they can look at you, critique you and let you know where you’re falling down, where your weaknesses are, where you need to improve, where your strengths are and make sure you are at your optimum best going into the show,” he said.
The bodybuilding boss went on to remind that although the team was not one selected by the federation but rather a group of athletes who expressed a desire to compete, that the body still played a role in making their participation possible.
“When I say we are taking a team, notice I said earlier that we have to sanction everybody so as far as we’re concerned they are representing us, the federation and Antigua and Barbuda. Every time an athlete goes away to compete in a championship, they cannot register on their own. The information has to be sent by the federation to the respective organisers, they have to be sanctioned so we think of them as our team, they are a part of us,” George said.
The national championships is slated for 24 August at the Multipurpose Cultural Center.