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BBFF nationals pushed back to October

Bodybuilding and fitness athletes could return to the gyms this Wednesday, as those training facilities will be open for the first time since mid-March. The BBFF National Championships have been pushed back, set for October 24. The CAC Championships will now be held on November 19-21, in Bridgetown, Barbados. FILE

June 29, 2020

Sheldon Longley

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With a definite date on the opening of gyms across the island now established, bodybuilding and fitness athletes can now get back to their regular workout regiments in hopes of preparing their bodies for competition.

The Northern Bahamas Championships, which was making a return to the BBFF’s calendar for the first time since 2017, has now been canceled, but the nationals are still on – pushed back to October 24. Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) President Joel Stubbs said that there is still a timeline for athletes who are interested in representing The Bahamas abroad to get in their respective gyms and put in the work.

The date and venue for the 47th Annual Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships has been switched, moved from August 28-30, in Bogota, Colombia, to November 19-21, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

“Well, we are very happy and excited that the gyms have been allowed to reopen,” Stubbs said.

“We had a full schedule this year. We were looking forward to going back to Grand Bahama to let those athletes showcase their talents and to also have them go up against the Nassau athletes who would have traveled there for the Northern Bahamas Championships; but unfortunately, that event had to be canceled.

Stubbs noted, “As it stands now, we are making plans to have the nationals and the novice together on October 24. We’re working on a venue and working on having all the proper protocols and particulars in place to host the event.

“The athletes are very excited and enthused to be involved. We’re hoping that by October 24, some of the restrictions could be lifted and we could incorporate our usual audience; that would help the sport financially. If not, we have a template that we plan on putting to use. It’s important that the nationals come off because we still intend to pick a Team Bahamas to represent us at the CACs.”

BBFF Project Manager Nardo Dean said they would have preferred the gyms to be opened sooner so that the athletes would have had significant time to prepare for the remainder of the season.

“All of the athletes are totally ecstatic, but we felt like the gyms should have been opened sooner with proper safety procedures in place,” Dean said.

“We felt that our cries were falling on deaf ears seeing that we had officially sent in a protocols request to the ministry (Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture) for quite some time now. For some reason, they saw fit to leave us to the last phase for reopening.

“Be that as it may, I’m just glad that we have the opportunity to open all of the gyms. The owners will have the proper protocols in place and we’re looking forward to the athletes getting back in the gyms, he added.

Dean said, “The athletes have been doing their best to keep themselves in shape with their respective indoor and outdoor training.

“We have to commend the personal trainers who have been doing a lot of online and Zoom training videos. They have ensured that their clientele remains active, and in so doing, a lot of athletes have remained active.”

The project manager noted “They’re keeping Bahamians healthy through this COVID lockdown period. They might not have been in the gyms but they were still online sharing their expertise with the whole Bahamas. That is exactly what was needed. The fact that training moved to a virtual atmosphere was very beneficial.”

Dean said the virtual training was welcomed and beneficial, but gym use is needed for the athletes during this time, particularly if they have plans on competing later this year.

“Gym use is necessary because of the different equipment and apparatus that is in use for the elements of core fitness and muscle mass,” he added.

He also indicated that having gyms reopen with the right protocols in place is exactly what is needed. 

“One of the key aspects to fight this COVID-19 pandemic is to be healthy – to have your immune system as strong as it could be, and gyms play a vital role in that.

“That is done through fitness, exercise, proper meal planning and supplementation, so we should have really been one of the first places to open – with the right protocols in place.

“Moving forward, we want to ensure that more attention is placed on the health and fitness industry and that gyms and all the other institutions that deal with health, fitness and wellness, remain open,” he said.

Dean is stressing to athletes that they still have sufficient time to get their bodies in shape for the October nationals and ensuing CACs, should they make the national team.

“Well, we still want to bring the national team on stream.

“Initially, we had a full slate of local activities this year. The Northern Bahamas Championships has been canceled, but we are still awaiting to get some feedback from our athletes to see what extent we will have the nationals this year. We also wanted to get some of our professional athletes off to elite pro championships,” he said.

The BBFF project manager said they intend to use the next few weeks for re-planning, to get the athletes back on schedule in the respective gyms as far as their regular workouts are concerned.

The federation’s president said that a number of opportunities, locally and abroad, still exist, despite a shortened season due too the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During the curfew and lockdown, a lot of athletes were still training and keeping their bodies in shape, still looking to compete at some point this year and we encourage that.

“I just want to encourage all of the athletes to continue to push. The opportunities are still there and the season is still open. In the federation, we are going to do our best to encourage, motivate and uplift our local athletes,” Stubbs said.

According to Dean a lot of countries in the region had previously opened their national training facilities so that athletes could have a venue to put in gym work.

“We are behind the eight ball in that regard.

“…Gyms tend to have an open floor area so spacing is not really an issue. For the most part, they’re well-ventilated and there are indoor and outdoor options.

“In most cases, the equipment is like about four to five feet away from each other, so social distancing is easy to monitor. As it relates to sanitation measures, they were always in place,” he noted.

Dean said gyms and fitness facilities have always had environments that are clean; he also feels confident that with the implementation of additional measures, it will create a safe environment for all athletes and those just getting in a regular workout.

The government of The Bahamas is gradually moving into phase five of its reopening of the economy plan in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that restrictions on movement are lifted and gyms and fitness facilities are allowed to reopen.

The coronavirus numbers in the country has leveled off a bit. There has been no new case of the virus since June 14 and up to press time; active cases are dwindling. There remains 104 total cases and 11 deaths.

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