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Venezuela muscle away crown
LeVaughn Flynn, Staff Reporter
They flexed, they danced and they evoked "oohs" and "aahs" from the audience as they displayed their well-sculptured bodies. Months and years of weight training and dieting came down to this one night at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Body Building and Fitness Championships at the Jamaica Pegasus on Saturday.
After the muscles were relaxed and the oil and tanning lotion were wiped off, most of the members of the home team were left disappointed while Venezuela and Barbados had their anthems played repeatedly.
Venezuela, which had four winners, topped the team competition with 170 points followed by Barbados (166) and Jamaica (156).
The biggest title of the night, the overall champion, which earns the winner a professional licence to begin earning money, twice eluded Jamaica.
Judith Allen, after winning the women's lightweight, had a showdown with the other female winners in the bodybuilding category for the overall champion. She lost to a 'ripped' (muscles well-defined) Zoraida Figueroa of Puerto Rico who had earlier won the women's heavyweight and masters categories.
"Ninety-five per cent of the time when all the winners pose down for the pro-card, it's the heavyweight who gets it," said Allen.
However, that did not hold true for fellow Jamaican Henry Graham. He won his second regional heavyweight title (the first in 1999) and looked sure to add the overall title. He had his way with the crowd, changed smoothly through the poses and has a back that expanded like an aggravated cobra. But he lost to a smaller and better proportioned Sandro Ramirez of the Dominican Republic, who some audience members said had better legs which gave him the edge.
"I'm very much disappointed and I thought I should have won because I was the biggest out there," said Graham, who is 41 years old and expressed doubt in returning next year.
Ramirez, who won the light heavyweight division, was humble with his victory and praised Graham.
"Henry is a tough competitor but I came ready and I did my best," he said.
Candice John of Trinidad and Tobago was the overall winner in the body fitness category, one of the crowd favourites as it showcases women in perfect feminine form.
Apart from Graham's loss in the overall category, the sonorous audience was at its loudest roar of disapproval when Allen and Andrew Chisolm finished a surprising third in the mixed pairs category.
Both had earlier captured the imagination of the audience when they entered with Allen straddled on Chisolm's shoulder. They then proceeded to pose for the 10-member judging panel taking turns on each other's back.
Allen and Chisolm expressed shock after the results were announced.
"I am still thinking what went wrong," said Allen. "We were the smallest pair so I can only assume that they were judging based on the size."
"What were they looking for?" quizzed a disappointed Chisolm. "It's a routine and we gave them a good routine so I don't know what they were looking for. We had good symmetry and our body types were the same and I didn't see anybody who had similar body type as me and Judith had so I don't know."
Despite finishing second in the junior category, Jamaican Leslie Howard was another crowd favourite as he wooed them with a well-choreographed routine to Michael Jackson's hit tune Thriller.
All winners underwent drug testing after the competition and the results are expected in three weeks.
Also on Saturday, there were two special inductions. Lloyd Young Sr. was the first inductee to the Jamaica Amateur Body Building and Fitness Association Hall of Fame. Young is renowned as Jamaica's first body builder and owns the Caribbean's oldest gym, Lloyd Young's Health Studio, in Montego Bay.
Javier Pollock, who has served the region for the past 34 years and started the CAC Championships was inducted into the CAC Hall of Fame.