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Aug 11, 2010
Over the past decade, The Bahamas has been one of the most successful nations at the Central American and Cari-bbean (CAC) level in bodybuilding and fitness.

They placed third at the championships a year ago in St. George's, Grenada, and last won the overall title three years ago in Bermuda.

This year, Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) President Danny Sumner was hoping that the 17-member squad could re-claim the overall title, but with funds still at a shortage, the federation might be forced to cut the team significantly.

Already, a proposed five-member team to the Antilles and Southern Caribbean Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was cut to a two-man squad last week, and those two athletes returned with two medals.

Veteran bodybuilder Raymond Tucker secured both medals, a silver in the men's middleweight division, and a gold medal in the men's masters division. Overall Novice Champion Vincent Paul was the other member of the two-man team.

About 30 athletes participated in the annual championships.

"Both men performed exceptionally well," said Sumner.

"Raymond is one of the best bodybuilders that this country has seen in the last decade - his record speaks for itself.

"There is no local bodybuilder who has won more awards than Raymond over the last 10 years.

"Not only that, but he has demonstrated to the Caribbean that he is one of the best bodybuilders in the entire region.

"As for Vincent Paul, he is the overall winner from the Novice Championships and this was the first time he got his feet wet in international competition, so he got a chance to see what international competition is all about. We are looking for a bright future from him," added Sumner.

Host country Puerto Rico won the championships by a large margin, but Sumner said that individually, the competition was very intense.

"It was very competitive," he said.

"We were disappointed that we didn't get to carry a full team but that was due to the economic situation. There were a couple athletes who were training for the championships and on the proper diets but couldn't go to Puerto Rico and they were a bit disappointed because of all the hard work that they put into their preparation.

"It was unfortunate but we had no other choice. The same thing is looming for the CAC Championships and we'll have to cross that bridge when we get to it," he added.

The CAC Championships are set for September 22-26 in Aruba. Sumner is hopeful that corporate Bahamas would step forward and assist them with their finances for the proposed trip.

"We really want to carry all 17 athletes down to Aruba, but the trip is costing us around $26,000 - $28,000, and the grant that we got from the government was only $7,500 with another $7,500 promised later," said Sumner.

"We might have to make another major cut for this team and that will be unfortunate. Originally, we ratified a 17-member team but that might be cut down to 10 or even lower. The appeal is still out there for corporate Bahamas to assist us because there is still some time left.

These athletes have to do a lot of personal training and are on strict diets. With them training all year for these championships, and then to find out at the last minute that they can't go, it's hard on them," he added.

Sumner said that, truly, they are hoping for a miracle. He said that the country has a strong reputation to maintain as one of the powerhouses in the sport in the region.

He said that the country should be proud of its accomplishment over the past decade and should try all that it can to maintain that level of success.

"We have won about five CAC Championships over the past 10 years, and we were looking to make another good showing this year with the intention of reclaiming the overall title, but we certainly wouldn't be able to do it without the manpower. It will be a hard decision but if we don't have the funds that we are looking for, then we will have to cut some members off the team," said Sumner.

"I'm hoping that a major company comes and help us along. There is still time left. Right now, I just want the athletes to stay focussed and to keep training.

"We are doing all that we could to get the full team to Aruba, and hopefully at the end of the day, we can get them all there where I know they will represent The Bahamas very well."

According to Sumner, the Antilles and Southern Caribbean Championships was just a preview of what's to come at the CAC Championships. He said that they are designed to make the CAC Championships better.
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