Winning is not defined by a first-place finish in all situations.
For the Jamaica Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (JABBFA), they now have that champion feeling because they were able to have the country represented at the 2021 International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness’ 48th Central American and Caribbean Championships, which went down at mid-August in El Salvador’s capital with a similar name, San Salvador.
Limited by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, JABBFA and its partners encountered difficulties training and could not host a competition or national tournament due to the Government’s protocols. Normally, opportunities for earning some money would also come from hosting competitions, but this too shrivelled over the past two years.
Most of all, taking care of home, illness, and ultimately, visa issues added further restrictions to its usual cohort of competitors, channelling much of the challenge to a younger generation.
“This year’s success will be different as the sport continues to incorporate more of the younger generation,” noted JABBFA’s Vice-President, Kirk Frankson.
In fact, a four-member team represented Jamaica at the CAC championship, and all members finished within the top six of their respective division.
This prompted Frankson to say: “It was the most satisfying and rewarding trip to the championship for Jamaica.”
He attributes their participation to the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), which funnelled contributions through its post-Olympic ‘Sport for All’ platform, which seeks to maximise the potential of the nation’s athletes.
“The participation of this year’s team was only possible due to the funding and ongoing partnership with the Jamaica Olympic Association,” he said of the $1.2 million sponsorship.
“The JOA continues to demonstrate their commitment to the development and support of athletes’ performance by sponsoring non-traditional sports like bodybuilding. The success of our athletes this year is due to the business unusual mantra of the Christopher Samuda-led JOA,” noted Frankson.
Ryan Foster, secretary general/CEO of the island’s parent body for sport, said, “They are a big part of our ‘Sport for All’ drive as the JOA, as a sports’ apex body and a National Olympic Committee (NOC), has oversight of 51 sporting disciplines where all are deemed equal.”
Continuing, he said: “We have always adopted the motto of our parent body IOC (International Olympic Committee) – ‘faster, higher, stronger’. With this view in mind, the JOA’s remit will always be centred around supporting the initiatives and goals of all members. We exist for all members and their athletes.”
Daniel Haughton, Akeem Hinds and females Sherea Clarke and Ashane Gordon-Morrison made the Jamaica team. Three of the bodybuilders were representing at their second regional, having participated at the 2020 CAC championship in the Dominican Republic. Clarke, who hails from Montego Bay, St James, was at CAC for the first time. However, she had previously been to the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Frankson noted that the JOA’s action “confirms their increased flexibility and eagerness to respond to the needs of the various sporting associations and commitment to sports in Jamaica”.
Haughton and Hinds placed third and fourth, respectively, in their height category for Men’s Physique; Clarke placed fifth in Bikini Wellness; and Gordon-Morrison, a member of Jambaugh Fitness Centre in Old Harbour, placed sixth in Body Fitness.
“The JOA, since the induction of JABBFA in 2018, has partnered with JABBFA on various projects for the benefit of the sport and their athletes,” Foster said. “JABBFA has demonstrated their commitment to the development of bodybuilding in Jamaica and has expanded that commitment by partnering with the JOA on various stamina educational workshops since 2019.
“The JOA invested $1.2 million in JABBFA in the participation of their team in this tournament,” he added.“This investment has definitely reaped dividends. JABBFA and their athletes have demonstrated excellence and have made JOA and our country proud.”