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Stage set for trio to chase pro dreams

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Step into the unknown: Trott performs some tricep drips at the Bermuda Elite Athletic Strength Training Gym on Dundonald Street

Three local bodybuilders will go in pursuit of winning their IFBB pro cards when they strut their stuff on stage at events in Europe and the Caribbean.

Nicole Tovey, Tresca Trott and Bernard Opoku are braced for a hectic couple of weeks, with the trio arriving in Barcelona today ahead of this weekend’s Arnold Classic Europe.

Trott and Opoku will then join up with their Bermuda team-mates for the Central American Caribbean Championship in the Dominican Republic seven days later, while Tovey will make the short trip to the Czech Republic for the EVLS Prague Showdown.

Earning a pro card, which enables an athlete to compete at professional shows for cash prizes, is no mean feat.

Not only do they have to win their own height class but also beat the winners of all the other height classes for overall first place.

Tovey, who competes in the bikini open and masters class, has already “dipped her toe in the water” in European competition, finishing fifth in both her classes at the Olympia Amateur in Marbella in June.

Although the five athletes who placed above her will all be competing in Barcelona, Tovey feels confident of finishing strongly in her final two competitions of the season.

“I certainly have a better idea of what to expect, having already competed in Europe,” said the 40-year-old.

“I’m aiming to place well again and hopefully move up a notch or two. I’ve put in the work and I’m satisfied with my condition, but it will be another tough line-up I think, so I’ll be fighting hard for it.

“I’m happy with the work I’ve put in this year, the changes made to my condition and my competition performance.

“I’m never one hundred per cent satisfied as there is always room for improvement, but I definitely feel at my best for this year and these two competitions will be a fantastic way to finish off a long season and kick start the off-season work.”

Tovey has also experienced the Arnold Amateur North America in Ohio, where she came third in March, but suspects the European judges may prefer a more “conditioned, tighter look” as opposed to the softer appearance that seemed more popular in the United States.

“I’ve never competed back-to-back before but I think the worst part will be finishing the first competition and not being able to have the huge cheat meal and indulgent foods I’ve missed out on for another whole week!” added the Australian.

“That will take some willpower. Keeping up the training and diet for the following show will no doubt be tiring but I’m prepared mentally and ready to give it my all.”

Trott, who is making her European debut, also expects back-to-back competitions, as well as making two long-haul flights across the Atlantic, to be physically and mentally demanding.

“The Arnold Classic is very close to the CACs, which my coach Muhsin Nasir [who also coaches Tovey and Opoku] keeps telling me is good thing!” said the 39-year-old social worker at CedarBridge Academy.

“It will be tough after Barcelona because usually I would eat, eat, eat, whereas now I will have to stay mentally focused and do what needs to be done.”

Trott is a two-times figure-class winner at the Night of Champions in Bermuda and came third in her height category at last year’s CAC Championships in Bahamas.

She knows the Arnold Classic Europe will be a step up in class and said she is excited about her venture into the unknown.

“After I competed in my first show [in Bermuda] I had a very strong desire to compete at the international level,” Trott said.

“I have no idea what they will be looking for in Europe and I will just bring the best me I can.”

Like Tovey, Opoku has already experienced the European stage at last year’s Amateur Olympia Liverpool, which he admits was as a severe learning curve after failing to reach the final.

The 30-year-old has received plenty of reassuring feedback since winning the men’s fitness class at last month’s Night of Champions and insists he is in the best shape of his life.

“My ass got handed to me [in Liverpool],” he said. “The guys were much bigger and fuller, and it just showed the standard of quality that’s out there. I want to prove to myself that I can stand on stage with those guys and be at that level. Hopefully, the judges will see that I’ve built on my weaknesses from last year and will reward me for that.”

Opoku, who placed second in last year’s CAC Championships, believes it will be beneficial having the support of Bermuda team-mates Trott and Tovey in Barcelona.

“It’s good to have people you know out there,” he said. “There will be a bit of camaraderie as we’re all from Bermuda and that helps.

“We’re all there to support each other, especially when it comes to meal preparation and making sure we’re all as stressless as possible.

“When you’re out there by yourself there’s no one there to blow off steam to and it’s easy to build up stress.”

Final touches: Opoku works out on the leg press
Overseas trio: Tovey, left, Trott, centre, and Opoku