Mallory caps meteoric rise by earning pro card
Jamila Mallory celebrated her birthday with tears of joy after winning the overall women's physique class at the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Nassau, Bahamas.
Mallory, who turned 33 on Saturday, was rewarded for her eye-catching performance with an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness pro card, enabling her to compete at professional shows for cash prizes.
It has been a meteoric rise for Mallory who only took up bodybuilding in February and had previously competed at just one event — the Night of Champions at CedarBridge Academy in August — where she won her division.
“I was absolutely thrilled to win in the Bahamas,” she said. “It was a real surprise for me as I only really went for the experience and had no expectations.
“I'd only ever done one competition and I just wanted to see if I liked it — I never expected all of this.
“To win my competition and get a pro card was the best birthday present ever! I cried because I was so overjoyed and it's great to bring some hardware back to Bermuda.”
Mallory said she feels inspired to train even harder to develop her physique with the help of her coach Carmichael Bryan after admitting her success has perhaps arrived ahead of schedule.
“I know I need to build on this platform and work even harder,” she said.
“I've come a long way in a such a short space of time and I'm probably not quite ready for the pro card.
“But my coach keeps on giving me the tools I need and I'll just keep on putting the hard work in.”
Mallory was among eight Bermuda athletes who strutted their stuff at the championships, which were held at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and featured more than 400 competitors.
Seven of the team reached the finals, with Bernard Opoku and Deon Brangman both finishing runners-up in their respective men's physique classes, Tresca Trott coming third in the women's C figure, and Zoe Roberts placing third in the women's fitness division. Both Trott and Roberts were competing at the regional competition for the first time.
Nicole Tovey, who has finished second and third twice in the fitness category, was fourth in the C bikini while Tahmeaka Thomas was sixth in the A division.
Dave Wolffe, the team captain, did not make the final of his physique division.
Opoku, who missed out on the final at last year's championships, was “over the moon” with his podium finish and said Mallory's triumph and fuelled his fire to also win a pro card in the future.
“I took a risk at the prejudging, saving my best condition for the final, and it paid off,” Opoku said.
“The competitor who edged me off the top stop went on to claim the overall win and a pro card, which showed me just how close I came to achieving my dream goal.
“I feel so lucky to have been part of such a successful team that represented Bermuda. I hope I did the country proud.”
Travelling with the team were Muhsin Nasir, the Bermuda coach, Renae Cann, a coach and judge, and Candy-Lee Foggo, the Bermuda Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation president, who also served on the panel of judges.