By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
LIKE the major sports in basketball, athletics, swimming and baseball, just to name a few, bodybuilding continues to flourish with two more competitors earning their professional card this year.
At two separate Ben Weider Classics, Jamiel Hamilton and Lakeisha Miller earned their pro cards, becoming the eighth and ninth Bahamians to make their breakthrough out of the amateur ranks.
They are both coached by Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation president Joel Stubbs, who was the third Bahamian to earn his pro card during the Central American and Caribbean Championships that was held in Nassau in 2003.
Stubbs followed in the footsteps of Charles Kemp, the first Bahamian to earn his pro card in El Salvador in 1998 and Natasha ‘Downtown’ Brown in Venezuela in 2002.
The other Bahamians to earn their card are Gena Mackey in 2007 in Bermuda, James ‘Jay’ Darling in 2011 in El Salvador, Dominique Wilkinson in 2013 in the Dominican Republic and Dawn Charlton in 2015 also at home.
These bodybuilders must all be commended for their commitment and dedication in getting their pro cards. But it seems as if it’s even harder for them to compete at the next level as it is getting there.
I’m sure all of their fans and their support team would like to see how well they all do competing against the fierce competitors from around the world.
While all of them are not competing, it would also be good to see all of them come on stage in a benefit performance to put on a posing demonstration for the public.
Since Kemp broke the barrier and the others have followed in his footsteps, bodybuilding and fitness have gotten a lot more international recognition.
When Stubbs competed, at one point in his career, his image was splashed across a few magazines highlighting his enormous back, considered then to be the best in the world.
The federation hosted the inaugural Faye Rolle Classic on Saturday at Loyola Hall and while the turnout to support the former bodybuilder’s medical expenses wasn’t what many expected, Miller put on a demonstration to give those in attendance a taste of what they can expect from her in the future.
Although the federation will hold their election of officers next year and a new administration could be ushered in, Stubbs said they hope to make the Faye Rolle Classic an annual one with international competitors from the Caribbean and the United States invited to compete.
Maybe, it might be a good time for the pro bodybuilders to come together on stage to put on a show for the public. I think it would be a good opportunity to see these bodybuilders and the progress they have made since turning pro.
So many of them get to compete in the international pro shows, but they are rarely seen because of the fierce competition that they have to face on stage.
This would be a good opportunity for the Bahamian public to see them in action. If that doesn’t work, another opportunity could come at the federation’s National Championships.
I think it could be a good money maker for the federation to have these competitors back on stage at home, especially at the Faye Rolle Classic. I think it was good for the federation to host the event in her honour. Rolle has been an awesome competitor who has represented the country well. She’s going through her ordeal and the federation stepped in to assist her with her medical expenses. I think it’s a good gesture and even though it was late in the year, the event had a quality field of competitors.
The Bahamas Basketball Federation has announced that their trials for the road to the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019 in China and the Pre Olympic qualifier will begin next weekend at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
Federation first vice president Mario Bowleg, who serves as the head coach of the team, said there are 18 out of a list of 24 international and locally based players who have consented to come home for the trials.
The coaching staff assisting Bowleg, comprising of Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson, Wayde Watson, Moses Johnson and Norris Bain from Grand Bahama, will prepare the team for the first window of games.
In the six games in a home-and-away series, the Bahamas will play their opener on the road in Canada on Friday, November 24. In a short turn around, the team will be back home to host the Virgin Islands on Monday, November 27. It will be important for the public to come out and cheer on the team as they prepare for the highest level of competition that the country has engaged in.
At stake is three qualifying spots for the second round for a chance to compete in the World Cup and ultimately to advance to the 2020 Olympic Games in the new process that has been drawn up by FIBA.
Bowleg said he’s confident that the Bahamas can qualify. Only time will tell when the team is assembled next weekend and the first leg of competition gets underway.
Let’s go Bahamas.