Bodybuilding enthusiasts in Cayman recently got a special treat.
The Universe Muscle Classic Bodybuilding & Figure Championships, held at the Lions Centre on June 20 saw representatives from the USA, Canada, England, Dominica Republic, Jamaica, Nigeria and the Cayman Islands do battle for several titles.
All athletes who participated in the event were subjected to drug testing.
Judges for the event were Ryan Irwin from Iowa, who was the head judge, Debbie Stanley from Jamaica, Mandee Irwin from Iowa and Jamal Young and Ernest Ebanks from the Cayman Islands.
The Boy Scouts opened the event with a presentation of the flags of the various countries that were represented at the event, followed by the presentation of the Cayman Islands flag.
The Scouts also displayed their talent with an impressive rendition by the drum corps and a marching routine. Opening remarks were made by Susan Wilson, president of the Cayman Islands Natural Bodybuilding Powerlifting and Weightlifting Association.
Local musician, Osbert Smith, then took to the stage and entertained the crowd with two of his latest hits.
In the Pro Men’s Bodybuilding Class it was war amongst the big boys.
Richard Scotchman from Jamaica came in with a rock hard physique to upset Darren Vernon from Manchester, England who, with an equally chiselled physique and a dynamic posing routine was edged into second place.
Gilroy Jouavel from the Cayman Islands showed the crowd what natural muscularity is all about. Jouavel put up a good fight against his opponents and earned himself the third place.
In the Amateur Lightweight Men’s Bodybuilding Class the stage came alive when the destroyer, Liam McKeon from Manchester, England turned on the heat with his vascular and defined physique.
McKeon held off his opponents and forced Dwight Campbell from Jamaica, who displayed good symmetry, into second place. Third place was awarded to Kurt Dunn of Jamaica who entertained the crowd with a dynamic posing routine.
In the Heavyweight Men’s Bodybuilding class Henry Graham of Jamaica swept his class with ease. Second place went to champion power-lifter turned rookie bodybuilder, Prince Kennedy Nwamkpa of Nigeria.
In the battle to determine the Overall Amateur Men’s Winner the judges were faced with a tough decision when Henry ‘Robo Cop’ Graham who is huge, muscular and well defined challenged the superbly ripped and well defined McKeon.
As both competitors went through the symmetry and muscularity rounds the crowd was cheering equally hard for both. When the final decision was made, it was Henry Graham who took home the NANBA Universe Muscle Classic Title and a pro card.
Even though the athletes were the stars of the night, the promoters were also cognizant of the fact that without their sponsors the event would not have taken place.
In a show of appreciation, awards were handed out to PricewaterhouseCoopers, CI Department of Tourism, Chris Johnson Associates, Ministry of Sports, Webster’s Tours, Island Paving, Andy’s Rent-A-Car, Vibe 98.9 FM, Body Sculptor Fitness Center, Hot 104.1FM and Western Union.
Event promoter, Tiger Wilson, himself a former Mr. Pro Universe title holder, said: ‘The show was great and I am most grateful to all of our sponsors.
‘Without the sponsors it would not be possible for us to promote this international championship here in Cayman. For the past six years my wife Susan and I have been pushing this event and I can say that, despite the many obstacles in our way we did not give up.
‘We took our licks and just kept moving on, hoping that one day everyone would see what we are trying to do. We think that it is finally coming to light that this type of event is good for the islands, especially from a sports tourism aspect.
‘Our goal is to give all of our local athletes the opportunity to become a professional athlete and to also enable them to compete more regularly at the international level. They deserve to be recognised around the world for the great athletes that they are.’
Ryan Irwin, Director of the NANBF, and Head Judge for the event was also full of praise for the show. ‘Tiger and Susan Wilson did a tremendous job of welcoming the IFPA and NANBF to the Cayman Islands for the Universe Muscle Classic on June 20,’ said Irwin.
‘The hospitality of everyone in Grand Cayman was just tremendous, and this competition is one of the main highlights each year of the IFPA contest calendar.
‘With more than a half-dozen countries represented and the very best natural bodybuilders and figure competitors on the planet coming to Grand Cayman, this was a very exciting event.
‘The crowd was lively and their support of all athletes was tremendous. The support of the local media is also greatly appreciated by all the visiting athletes and their families.
‘The drug-free status of this show employed by the IFPA/NANBF proves that natural sport is alive and well in the Caribbean, as well as worldwide. The IFPA is proud to be involved with Eye of the Tiger Productions and our athletes are looking forward to coming back to Grand Cayman in 2010.’
Even as they still work at wrapping up the 2009 event, Tiger and Susan are already back to work planning next year’s event.
‘As inconsequential as the event might seem to some people, it takes a whole year of planning and commitment to actually make it happen,’ said Tiger.
- Anyone wishing to become involved in the 2010 event on 916-5662 or by e-mail at [email protected]