On the heels of a number of Bahamian athletes defying orders and taking part in the Caribbean Grand Prix Pro Qualifier at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island here in The Bahamas this past weekend, they will face sanctions from the global governing body of the sport, the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (IFBB), through the Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (CACBBFF).
CACBBFF Vice President, Bahamian Danny Sumner, said that it is unfortunate that they did not heed the warnings, and now they will have to face the consequences. The Caribbean Grand Prix Pro Qualifier was staged by the IFBB Pro League, but is a National Physique Committee (NPC). The IFBB severed ties with the NPC last year, and consequently, banned its athletes from taking part in NPC shows.
According to reports, about five to 10 Bahamians took part in the bodybuilding and fitness show this past weekend. Additionally, one of the Bahamians, Raynor Ferguson, a gold medalist from the CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships this year, earned his pro card by winning the overall title in men’s physique at the Caribbean pro show.
“According to the rules, they will be sanctioned. They will be suspended and that is about all I could say about that at this particular time,” said Sumner. “The athletes were warned and they still decided to take part, so now they have to face the consequences. The IFBB communicated to me to warn our athletes about the danger of competing in this event, I did that, and they still went ahead and competed so they will be suspended. The IFBB Disciplinary Committee will determine the length of the suspensions. All I could do is continue to encourage athletes not to fall victim to the NPC shows. They are giving pro cards left, right and center and they couldn’t do that under the IFBB, but those pro cards are only good for NPC shows. At the end of the day, those athletes won’t be allowed to compete in the Mr. and Ms. Olympia shows and other IFBB pro events which is where they really earn their fame.”
The NPC actually controls the IFBB Pro League, and has the license to issue pro cards to athletes that way. In fact, a number of Bahamians have earned their pro cards at NPC shows – Ferguson being the latest one. This year alone, a total of eight Bahamians have earned their pro cards in bodybuilding and fitness. They are Ferguson, Tameka “Tammy” Stubbs, Charnice Bain, Endierich Rahming, Lorraine Lafleur, Jimmy Norius, Tanya Moxey-Cleare and Angelika Wallace-Whitfield. Attaining pro status for The Bahamas last year were Lakeisha Miller and Jameil Hamilton. They all joined Bahamians Gena Mackey, James “Jay” Darling, Dominique Wilkinson and Natasha Brown, who achieved pro status previously. Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) President Joel Stubbs also attained pro status, and competed in a number of shows, but has retired.
“The IFBB which is headquartered in Madrid, Spain, is the only recognized global governing body for bodybuilding by the International Olympic Committee (IOC),” said Sumner, a former BBFF president himself. “It was a big split between the IFBB and the NPC, and there are a lot of matters to be resolved. Any athlete associated with the NPC will be sanctioned – that is a fact. This show was announced some time ago and the CAC countries were warned at the CAC Championships to not encourage their athletes to compete in this show. A lot of them still went ahead and did so, and will now have to face the consequences.”
The NPC, the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the United States, was once under the IFBB. Now that it is on its own, and has control of the IFBB Pro League, it has the ability to stage pro shows and hand out pro cards. A number of athletes choose to take this route to obtain pro cards given the strenuous nature that could be associated with the IFBB process. In the past, only overall winners at regional shows under the jurisdiction of member bodies of the IFBB were eligible to obtain pro cards. That privilege has been extended, but the number of IFBB shows in which athletes could obtain pro cards are still limited, particularly in the CAC region.
After competing in NPC events, athletes can come back to the IFBB, but would have to go through a tedious process that could be quite lengthy. Most importantly, they would have to undergo a mandatory drug test under the auspices of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Sumner said that the rift between the IFBB and the NPC has stifled the growth and progress of the sport internationally, and has even affected this region, but all he could do as an executive of the CACBBFF which falls under the IFBB is continue to encourage athletes to “stay the course” and ultimately prolong their careers.
In addition to being re-elected as vice president of the CACBBFF during the CAC Congress at the CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships in Mexico City, Mexico, at the end of July, Sumner was also appointed as a patron for the region and the area – an executive member of high honor that the federation looks up to. He serves under Giovanni Arendsz who was re-elected as president of the CACBBFF in July.