All hail the return of the nationals

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New national champions crowned in bodybuilding and fitness

Sheldon LongleySend an emailJuly 18, 2022 130 6 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 From left are Open Bikini winner Fania Joseph, Open Wellness winner Cara Saunders and “Mr. Bahamas”, Men’s Overall winner in Bodybuilding, Giovanne Farrington. Overall, 30 athletes took part in the competition.

Starving for an opportunity to compete, bodybuilding and fitness athletes came out in full force on Saturday night and the fans showed their approval, signaling a grand return of the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation’s (BBFF) Novice and National Championships.

The 49th edition of the bodybuilding and fitness nationals, and the first in three years, due to the threat of COVID-19, drew hundreds to the Atlantis Theater at Atlantis on Saturday night.

Coming out with the overall titles were Fania Joseph in Open Bikini, Cara Saunders in Women’s Wellness, Kaif Young in Men’s Physique and Giovanne Farrington in Men’s Bodybuilding. Overall, 30 athletes took part in the competition and, for all of them, it was a welcomed experience after a three-year hiatus at the national level.

Joseph competed in just her second nationals. She competed for the first time in 2019 and is now the National Bikini Champion.

“I feel very good. This is incredible,” said Joseph. “I worked extremely hard for the past four months or so, and I feel as if the hard work has definitely paid off. I brought my best to the national stage and I’m very happy with the result. The work continues.”

Joseph will now prepare for the 49th Annual Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships, set for July 27 to August 1, in Bridgetown, Barbados. The CACs is an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness’ (IFBB) world ranking event and an IFBB elite pro qualifier. Several Bahamians have attained their IFBB pro cards from the CACs over the years.

“I’m very grateful to the federation (BBFF) because even though we didn’t have nationals, they still provided opportunities for us to compete over the last three years,” said Joseph. “Right now, I’m just looking to going to the CACs and representing The Bahamas well. I’m optimistic that I will have a good showing.”

Shown are athletes competing in Open Bikini at the BBFF Novice and National Championships. From left are overall winner Fania Joseph, Britnae Davis, Kastachia Stuart and Danielle Rollins. DANTE CARRER

Joseph won the Open Bikini Class B title and the Overall Bikini title. In the Novice Division, Kastachia Stuart was the winner and she was followed by Britnae Davis and Danielle Rollins. In the Open Bikini Class G, Stuart came out on top and she was followed by Rollins. Davis took home the Class H title.

Also celebrating her first overall national title was Saunders, who duplicated her feat from the Northern Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships two weeks ago, in Women’s Wellness. She also won in Open Wellness Class C and was followed by Denica Thompson in that division. In Women’s Wellness Novice, Altonique Curtis came out on top and she was followed by Thompson, then Jackie-Jean Cleare. Curtis won in Women’s Wellness Class B and Cleare came out on top in Women’s Wellness Class D.

“This feels absolutely amazing,” said Grand Bahama native Saunders, who started competing in 2016. “After Northern Bahamas, I wanted to come out here and do the same thing, and I did. That was big for me. It’s so surreal. I wasn’t so much nervous, but I was a bit anxious.”

Saunders said she is looking to put on a little more mass, particularly in her glutes (gluteal muscles), for the CACs in less than two weeks’ time.

Prevailing in Men’s Physique for the second time in a row, dating back to 2019, was Kaif Young. He also took the Open Men’s Physique Class F title and was followed by Davin Johnson and Terrion Kemp in that division. Johnson won the Novice title and was followed by Judah Forbes and D’Angelo Edmunds in that division. Justin Lightbourne won in Men’s Physique Class A, Anthon Moxey took the Class C title, Wedlear Eugene won in Class D and was followed by his twin brother Wendly Eugene, and Forbes took the Class E title and was followed by Edmunds.

There were three other competitors in Men’s Physique – Gordon White, Kory Ingraham and sports broadcaster Marcellus Hall. Men’s Physique had the most competitors with 12 competitors in action.

Athletes compete in men’s physique at the BBFF Novice and National Championships.

In men’s Classic Physique, Andrew Gibson came out on top and was followed by Orick Nesbitt and Andrew Sweeting. Gibson won in men’s classic physique novice as well.

In Men’s Physique, Young celebrated his overall title much later than he was supposed to, as Lightbourne was initially announced as the overall winner. The BBFF admitted the error, and long after the show would have ended and fans left the arena, Young was decreed the official winner.

“I’m very happy,” said Young, who has been involved in the sport for 15 years. “It’s been a long journey for me, putting in the work since 2007, and to come here and win the national overall title is a good feeling. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to take it to further heights.

“I’m looking forward to traveling with the national team, and I hope I’m able to attain a pro card in Barbados. I’m definitely looking to finish in the top three, but it would be a blessing to attain a pro card. Normally, we would take about a week off, but with CACs being so close, it’s back in the trenches, starting tomorrow. There are no breaks this time. I want to bring back some trophies and hardware to The Bahamas. That’s the plan.”

Young said he was a bit disappointed not receiving the overall title on stage and taking a picture with the other overall winners, but he knows that mistakes happen and he is prepared to move forward.

“That’s a part of life. Mistakes happen but I try to remain humble through the whole process and move forward,” he said.

Claiming the title of Mr. Bahamas in Men’s BodyBuilding was Farrington. With athletes such as Jimmy Norius and Charles Reckley no longer on the scene, someone has to step up in Men’s Bodybuilding and carry on the legacy. Norius and Reckley are both three time national champions and Mr. Bahamas winners.

Farrington also won the Men’s Middleweight Division in Bodybuilding and was followed by Andrew Gibson and Andrew Sweeting. Gibson came out on top in Middleweight Novice, Orick Nesbitt won in Men’s Super Heavyweight, and in Men’s Masters, and was followed by Sweeting.

“It’s a great honor. I feel great,” said Farrington. “I give God all the glory and praise. Because of the Almighty, I am healthy and fit and here competing today. I was actually going to call it quits, but I just stuck in there and kept training. I went after it, and I have to give guys like Leonardo Dean and Paul Wilson credit because they encouraged me to go after it. Also, when I started my training, I was under Joel’s (BBFF President Joel Stubbs) tutelage, so I have to give him credit as well. I’m pleased and just grateful. I’m going to Barbados with a total package and bigger body,” he added.

Other winners on Saturday night included Sanadia Smith in Women’s Fit Model; Alexander Kemp, who won three gold medals – Men’s Fit Model Novice, Men’s Fit Model National and Men’s Fitness; Gemo Smith in Men’s Muscular Physique; Seanea Bowe in Women’s Fitness; and Dorcas Cox, who won in Women’s Figure Novice and Women’s Figure National.

In Men’s Fit Model National, Kemp held off Kyle Turnquest; in Women’s fFgure Novice, Cox defeated Jackie-Jean Cleare; and in Women’s Figure National, Kemp prevailed over Smith and Cleare.

Smith won the Women’s Team Player award and the Men’s Team Player award went to Demeko Nesbitt, who didn’t compete on Saturday night, but is a former athlete at the nationals level for The Bahamas and now competes as a professional.

Smith also won the Most Improved Female Athlete while Terrion Kemp took home that award for the men.

There was an award presented to the gym with the most athletes entered in the show, and that award went to J-Line Fitness Bahamas with seven athletes. The Northern Bahamas gym participation award went to Nesbitt Fitness with six athletes entered.

“I just want to say thanks to all of the athletes who took part and to everyone who worked behind the scenes to ensure that this event came off. Also, special thanks to all the athletes who came down from Freeport and made this an even better show,” said BBFF Project Manager Leonardo Dean. “We’re looking forward to getting a national team together, but for that to be realized, we will need to determine how much funding we are able to receive. If we receive the funding that is promised to us, we will be able to go to the CACs. We’re reaching out to the government to honor their commitment to us and also to corporate Bahamas. We really need this funding to make the trip to the CACs happen.”

As mentioned, the 49th annual CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships is set for July 27 to August 1 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

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