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Smith takes Island Games fire to new stage

Defending champion: Trott will again compete in the women’s figure fitness class at CedarBridge Academy (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Melissa Smith will switch from the track to the stage for the 29th edition of the Night of Champions at the Ruth Seaton James Auditorium at CedarBridge Academy next weekend.

Smith, a multiple medal winner at the NatWest Island Games, remains passionate about sprinting and lends her time to coach some of the island’s up and coming teenage girls.

The 30-year-old admits she has a natural competitive streak and is excited about testing herself in a very different sporting realm when she competes in the women’s physique class.

“Many people over the years have said I should compete,” said the mother of two-year-old twin boys, Zayden and Toren.

“This year I thought why not, let’s try it out and see how it goes. I’m definitely a competitor and I definitely want to enjoy it.

“I want to learn the techniques and the posing, as well as the dietary aspect.”

Smith represented Bermuda at the Island Games in Rhodes, Greece, in 2007, winning a bronze medal in the 100 metres and 4x100, as well as silver in the 200; and the 2011 Games in the Isle of Wight, claiming silver in the 400. The former Illinois State University athlete has set her sights on becoming a three-times Island Games athlete in Gotland, Sweden.

“I can’t sprint forever and I think this is a good fit for me,” said Smith, who trains at the BEAST Gym.

“I enjoy lifting, I enjoy powerlifting, and this is a different sort of competition than sprinting. Hopefully I will have the same aspiration to come back and compete next year.”

One athlete who is no stranger to gracing the stage at the Night of Champions is Susan Rebello, a three-times women’s bodybuilding winner.

The 44-year-old, who trains at Seaview Fitness, said she felt reinvigorated after taking a couple of years off competing as she “needed a mental and physical break”.

“I feel refreshed and excited, and I’m looking forward to presenting all of my hard work,” said Rebello, who won the lightweight bodybuilding class at the 2009 Central American and Caribbean Amateur Bodybuilding Championships.

“I don’t take anything for granted and I know there could be somebody out there working harder than me. You just have to see who shows up.”

Defending their titles from last year’s contest are Bernard Opoku and Tresca Trott, both from BEAST Gym.

Opoku, 30, will look for a third-straight title in the men’s physique class while Trott won the women’s figure class 12 month’s ago.

“I know there are a few guys who have been putting in the work for the past year and I know they will give me a run for my money,” said Opoku, who came second in his class at last year’s CAC Championships.

Opoku, who hopes to earn an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness pro card, has had an intense few months of training having only recently recovered from a shoulder injury.

Trott, 39, said she had prepared as though the competition was going to be even stiffer this time around.

“I never rest on my laurels and each year is a new competition,” said Trott, who competes in the figure class. “It’s another opportunity to fight and I definitely don’t rest on last year’s performance.

“My hunger to do well is even more intense than last year.”

Candy-Lee Foggo, the Bermuda Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation president, said she was delighted that many new faces would be strutting their stuff on stage next weekend.

She expects more than 30 competitors to compete in seven categories.

“There are a lot of new competitors and that’s always a plus so I’m definitely excited,” Foggo said.