By Neto Baptiste
International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) Elite Pro bodybuilder, Bernard Percival Jr, is hoping that his recent success on the international platform, will encourage government and private sector businesses to offer more financial support to the athletes.
The classic physique competitor who recently finished in the top 10 of the Arnold Classic held in Barcelona, Spain said there is simply, not enough funding available to athletes who compete in the financially demanding sport.
“This is why I am really hoping that with the recent success I’ve had that the government takes a more serious look at bodybuilding because we have a lot of great athletes, but realistically, without the funding, you can’t do much with it,” he said.
“With the elite pro qualifiers coming much closer to Antigua within the last year and a half we have more opportunities for athletes to go and do well and showcase their talents and turn professional,” he added.
Currently, bodybuilding is not an Olympic sport and is therefore not funded through the National Olympic Association while professional athletes like Percival and others cannot be funded by the federation.
Percival said the body and in particular, President Dave George, has been actively assisting with sourcing funding for the athletes.
“I know especially the president [Dave George], he has been very vocal and supportive of myself and all the other pros as well, and he has also been one to speak to the ministry as well on my behalf and telling them that I need assistance and trying to help me out in any way he can, but in terms of actually providing funds, there are no funds to provide,” he said.
The athlete did say that recent discussions have been held with parties within the sports ministry as per possible funding for the World Championships slated for November 2nd in Spain.
“With this trip to World Championships, we have been in discussions with the government and the Ministry of Sports in particular of course, and they have promised to assist us with some funds for the airfare but outside of that it is just a self-funded sport and you might get a few sponsors to donate a five hundred dollars here and there, but for the most part, we sponsor ourselves,” he said.
Percival is currently preparing for Novembers World Championships with hopes of bettering his top 10 finish at the Arnold Classic.