Sports

Saunders storms to novice bodybuilding title

Rookie sensation Ricky James sends warning shots to seniors in men’s physique

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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Kadeem Saunders of Express Fitness 24/7 muscled his way to the 2019 Novice Bodybuilding Title on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at Little Theatre in the presence of a large enthusiastic audience at Le Debutant, the Jamaica Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (JABBFA) Novice, Junior and Elite Championships.

Saunders came out on top against a strong, competitive field of athletes from varying gyms and was impressive enough to capture second in the bodybuilding elite category. Hushane Hunclewood of Fit Farm Fitness Club, who provided the most entertaining pose off of the night, cropped second and Nigel Pinnock of Maximum Vibes came third in novice bodybuilding.

Not to be outdone was 62-year-old retired Deputy Superintendent of Police Oberlene Smith-Whyte, who made her mark as the runner up in the novice bikini masters category. Smith-Whyte shared that she had watched the Senior championships for several years and decided two years ago that she wanted to enter. And after designing a training programme with her coach Rupert Johnson of Velocity Wellness Center, she is making an impact in a different realm, winning the respect of persons half her age and those young enough to be her children like Tracey-Ann Hayden, who at 45 years young, won the novice bikini masters. She may now place this trophy right beside her Order of Distinction.

Fit Farm Fitness Club produced the novice bikini fitness winner in Debbie-Ann Gordon and Kacian-Ann Nelson for bikini wellness.

Novice sensation Ricky James out of Maximum Vibes showed confidence and poise reminiscent of a professional athlete to claim the novice men's physique short class category and overall. James stole the show with his charisma and edged out Rasheed Lewis from Classic Body Fitness and Alix Mullings from JYM Training. Kemar Francis displayed the trademark conditioning and symmetry of an athlete trained by Xavier Reid, as he edged out the class of eight athletes in the tall class.

Rasheed Lewis was better in the classic bodybuilding category where he captured the title to become the first winner of a classic bodybuilding category in Jamaica.

A phoenix story unfolded on Saturday when Rajae Grandison captured the junior bodybuilding category. Grandison had won the junior competition in 2017 as one of the youngest champions in the 60-year history of the association and took a hiatus from competition. Fittingly, he made a return in 2019 representing JYM Training and hit his stride in this comeback as he stood head and shoulders above his competition Daniel Webster of Spartan Health Club, who placed second with solid conditioning and JABBFA'S transformation winner from 2018 Kenyatta Walker, who has transitioned into a commendable bodybuilder placing third.

President of the association Audrey Mullings noted that JABBFA was having the novice and junior competition as a separate event for the first time in 20 years and based on the success will make this an annual event on the calendar.

The competition will provide bodybuilders under 24 years and those with less than three years' experience an opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Thus, providing the younger cohorts with an opportunity to engage in a competitive arena.

All finalists were provided with cash and prizes valued at over $400,000 in the form of baskets from Power Malt, Ironade and Wata; Gym memberships from Spartan Health Club, Express Fitness and Fit Farm Fitness Club, Supplements from Fitness Junkies, Fire Safety Equipment from Express Alarms, cash from the Sports Development Foundation, Bignall Law and Facial and Oral Surgery Associates.


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