BELIZE CITY–This morning at the Coastal Zone Management Authority’s conference room on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City, the Belize Body Building and Fitness Federation (BBBFF) held a press conference to clear the air regarding assertions which were made by at least two members of the federation, one of whom included two-time Bodybuilding Champion (2013 & 2014) Clinton Tucker.
Last Thursday, October 23, Tucker, who has been a bodybuilder and boxer for over 20 years, told Amandala that he is currently displeased with the way that things are playing out in the sport, and that he wants the BBBF President, Stanley Moody, to step down from his post because, according to Tucker, Moody is not acting in the best interest of the athletes of the BBBF by treating them “unfairly” and “taking them for granted”.
Tucker’s argument is that as bodybuilders, they do a lot of investments and make many sacrifices to develop and tone their muscles and bodies in preparation for the competitions just to realize that the person at the helm of the discipline does not have the love of the sport and its athletes at heart.
The disgruntled weightlifter had issues with the prize money and trophy for the Mr. Physique competition that he won as part of the 2014 Belize Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships held on October 17, which included the participation of a number of well-known local gyms.
Today however, Moody responded by saying that the federation does not have any obligation to give out any financial award to the winners since that was basically introduced as an incentive for bodybuilders to excel while competing in the sport.
He said, “Last week when Mr. Tucker came to pick up his stipend – as we put it – for winning the Mr. Physique [contest], he came to my place of business – I had customers in my business – he was given his check and on his way out the door, he turned around and started making a whole lot of noise talking about if this was the little bit of money he was going to get, that this can’t satisfy him. Now he is being very loud in my place of business, so I turned around and said, ‘Mr. Tucker can you keep it down’ and I have witnesses because they were all sitting there stunned, I said ‘Mr. Tucker you are in my place of business, if you have something to say, let’s go [outside]’. He was very unhappy. He said if they added the total of all the cash prizes that still would not satisfy him. So I said, ‘If that is the case then you can give back the cheque, if you are so unhappy with it then just give it back. No one is forcing you to compete’. I said ‘This is an amateur sport, no one is forcing you to compete’, but apparently he has issues because he’s done it several times to different people.”
In his interview with Amandala, Tucker said that the fact that this year’s trophy is smaller than last year’s is “an insult to all athletes of the BBBF” and shows that the president “does not care about building the morale of the competitors”, especially since he has allegedly refused to meet with his members and penalizes those who dare to voice their opinions about the situation.
Moody, however, maintained today that that is not true and that the BBBFF is doing all they can to compensate the athletes based on sponsorship.
“We can only give out what we get in; strictly sponsorships. This year, the sponsorships were minimal in comparison to last year and the year before, so we are limited as to what we can give. Things cost money, renting the Bliss just for the show cost money, trophies cost money and as amateur athletes, we do not have to give money. We are not required to give money – those are IFBB rules – we are not required to give money, trophies – medals yes, but we feel that these athletes work hard and it’s an expensive sport, so if we can supplement them a little by giving some funds, we do it, but it is not a given. They all knew they were going to get money, but they did not know how much and we cannot determine how much money we give until we know what we have gotten in because we go solely on sponsorships”, Moody told us.
During this year’s Bodybuilding Championships at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts in Belize City, participants competed in eight categories, including the coveted Mr. Belize contest.
That was won by Rigo Vellos, one of Belize’s well-known bodybuilders, of Spartan Gym, with Clayton Grinage placing second, and Oyinkro Akpobodor third.
Vellos also won the male Light Heavyweight category for the third consecutive year.
Clinton Tucker was victorious in the Men’s Physique category, beating out Dean Hemmans and Carlton Richards, of Spartan Gym.
First and second in the Masters and Middleweight category were Clayton Grinage, of Body 2000, and Guy Neal, of Neal and Gordon’s Gym.
Oyinkro Akpobodor, also of Neal and Gordon’s Gym, won first place in the Novice category, while the male Welterweight winner was Deon Ortiz, of BBBF Gym.
It is noteworthy to mention that Oyinkro Okpobodor, who competed as a novice, also managed to place second in the Light-Heavyweight competition amongst other experienced bodybuilders.
The female version of the Mr. Belize category is the female Body Figure category which was won by Gina Lovell, with Annlyn Apolonio snatching second place. Rounding out the top 3 was Josephine Gault, of Body 2000.
Apolonio, of Neal and Gordon’s Gym, won over Christina Requena, of Body 2000, in the Bikini Fitness category.