Three local bodybuilders achieve pro cards at Grand Prix event
It was a successful night for Bermuda at Saturday’s IFBB Pro League Caribbean Grand Prix Bermuda Pro Qualifier at Ruth Seaton James Auditorium, with three local bodybuilders among the eight who achieved pro cards in various categories.
Joy Eve won the overall title in the women’s figure category, while Marvin ‘Chico’ Babon won the men’s classic physique and Winston Weekes, a Barbadian who has lived in Bermuda for many years, won the overall bodybuilding category during an exciting night of competition.
“I feel pretty good, I’ve been trying to reach this goal for a very long time,” Weekes said. “It has been a challenge a few times but I was able to accomplish it tonight.
“I did the light heavyweight, the Masters Open and over 40, three categories. The competition was pretty good but I really enjoyed it.
“I came to win and I think I did a good job. I’ve been getting ready for this competition for three years, but because of the pandemic, we were put back for two years.
“This year was a lucky year for us, the competition was able to go on and I was able to get ready. It was a wonderful show,” said Weekes.
Dion Smith, who was the main sponsor along with trainer and co-sponsor Ross Caesar, was pleased with the show which featured a large overseas contingent.
“I think it went very well, Bermuda was represented and we also had people here from Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil and many other territories,” he said.
“It’s an attraction that is far different from many other events. Just tonight Serbia had it’s first Serbian pro, a doctor chasing a pro card who lives in America!”
The Serbian, Misel Lozanic, won the men’s classic physique. Samantha Kucera of the US won the bikini overall in winning her pro card.
Two others, Eli Fernandez from Mexico won the came first in the bikini pro category and qualified for Olympia 2022 while Barbara Caesar Nery of Brazil won the pro wellness bikini class and also qualified for for Olympia 2022.
Bermuda hosted the event for the first time in 2019 with local pair, Sueallen Lottimore and Lauren D’Amico both securing International Federation of Bodybuilding pro cards.
“Because of the pandemic and other issues we had a smaller number of outside athletes, however, it still did not diminish the atmosphere created with the number of Bermudians in the crowd,” said Dion Smith, who was presented with a special award along with Caesar.
“They have these shows all over the world but Bermuda is the only show in the Caribbean that is a pro show. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to have a sanctioned event in Bermuda.
“That’s why it was very important for Bermudians to take advantage of having the ability to be in a show that they can participate in. It shows that Bermudians are capable of being at very high levels of discipline in their lives, which was proved tonight and also in 2019 when we had the first IFBB Pro League show in Bermuda.”
Smith added: “The medals that we have for everyone have been designed specially for Bermuda, and no one else has rings.
“With the participants and the visitors who came with them, it would be over 100, everyone brought someone with them.”
Serge Saric, a co-promoter from the US, admits the event would not have been possible without the support they received towards the execution of the competition.
“Without the Bermuda Government, the BTA, the judges from the US, the athletes and coaches from all over the world, we couldn’t have done this,” Saric said.
“We’re so happy and grateful to have this in Bermuda because this is one of the best islands in the world. I travel all over the world to judge and promote shows and this is my second home, some of the best people in the world.”
MC for the show was Mariane Tomita from Brazil, who was also happy to return to the island after taking part in the 2019 event.
“It was great, the Bermuda crowd is unique, I can tell you that,” said Tomita, who lives in the United States.
“They had fun, and it made the event fun for the competitors. It is something about this island that makes everyone feel special, including me.
“Every time I come here I feel relaxed and don’t want to leave.”