Wednesday, September 27, 2023
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
ALTHOUGH they didn’t have a full team like their counterparts, team manager Leonardo ‘Nardo’ Dean said he was still pleased with the performances of Team Bahamas at the Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding Championships.
The 10-member team, selected by the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Wellness Federation, returned home from Aruba yesterday where they collected a total of four gold, three silver and two bronze with eight other top six place finishes for seventh in the field of 10 countries who participated in the event over the weekend.
“Each of the athletes competed beyond their expectations,” Dean said. “They represented us well, from their attitude to their personalities and mixing with the other teams. They were very good representatives of the federation and the Bahamas.
“Each of those athletes did a fantastic job and we are very proud of them. Terrion (Kemp, who won his professional card in the men’s physique division) was one of them. He came under me when he got started in the sport.
“I saw the talent in him from the very beginning. I saw his discipline, his drive and his passion for the sport.
“The others didn’t get their pro cards, but as long as they stay focused and keep God first, they will become champions. All of them are champions.
“Even though who finished fourth to seventh did their job in helping us to gain points and they were able to encourage each other when they were on stage.”
With his job done, Dean said he will now take a break away from the sport in an executive role, but will continue to work behind the scenes to assist in the further growth and development of the sport.
“This year will be the end of my season, but my aspirations for the federation is for it to continue to grow,” Dean said.
“Whoever takes over my position, I know they will do a good job helping to motivate the people and make sure all of their plans are well kept and executed.
“As for the athletes, we met with them before and after the competition and they know exactly what their homework should be to improve for next year.
“We know that we had some athletes who were hyped up to compete in their first international meet.”
With the CAC Championships going to Guyana next year, Dean said they will ensure that Team Bahamas is ready, especially as they look at the athletes who competed on the team this year and those who didn’t get to compete in their National Championships.
“Hopefully with the influx of a lot of these new athletes that we have, we will get more cohesiveness and more support from the general public as well as corporate and the government to assist us getting a bigger and better team.”
Compared to their counterparts, Dean said one of the reasons why the Bahamas can’t regain its spot as one of the top countries in the championships is because they don’t have the funding to take the big teams like they did in the past when Bahamas dominated. “We may not be getting the gold, silver and bronze, but we’re still scoring points across the board in almost every division,” he said. “Hopefully we can send a bigger team next year and become a leader in this region once again.”
As he prepares to step down, Dean said the federation will be looking for some more vibrant persons to get involved to stay in and make their contribution to the sport in getting some fresh, new faces at the top.
Making the transition from track and field and gymnastics, Dean first got involved in the federation in 1996 when Danny Sumner served as the president. He has worked behind the scenes until he was promoted to the executive board.
The former public relations officer also served as the national coach for Team Bahamas before he was elevated to team manager under president Joel Stubbs.