Bennett is Mr Guyana

The Reign of Bennett: Mr Guyana, Marlon Bennett (middle), is flanked by former champion Kerwin Clarke (left) and president of the GBBFF, Keavon Bess. (Photos by Faizool Deo)

… Campbell defends Mr Physique title, Fung wins Ms Bikini

By Faizool Deo

MARLON Bennett has been known as ‘Bolo’ for most of his career and early Monday night the veteran bodybuilder was called ‘Pops’ by several persons in the crowd at the Guyana Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (GBBFF) Senior National Championships. But by the end of the event he had a new name – one he had craved for a long time: Mr Guyana.

Rosanna Fung (right) defeated Angela Barroncas in the Ms Bikini competition.

The top local bodybuilding tournament at the National Cultural Centre saw Bennett upstage his younger opponents – Caerus Cipriani and Carlos Petterson Grifith – to take the overall title.

Also triumphing were Emerson Campbell, who continued his dominance in the Mr Physique category and Rosanna Fung, who defeated a chiselled Angela Barroncas (Singh) in the Ms Bikini battle.

The Fitness Express-sponsored event was seen as the dawn of the post-Kerwin Clarke era. The four-time champion had decided to focus on international competitions and to give other local bodybuilders a chance to vie for the coveted title. And they did battle for it.
Leading the charge was 42-year-old Bennett, who stormed his way to the Masters title, the Under-154 pounds title and then after a fierce battle, the overall title.

Bennett, who trains at Fitness 53, said that the win was motivation for him and he hopes it can be a motivation for other ageing athletes in the sport. He added that he was confident of an overall victory when he heard that Clarke was not competing because he was the only competition.”

The seasoned bodybuilder credits his focus and consistency for his run in the sport, which has spanned approximately two decades.
“I love the sport; you have to love something to go after it over and over.”
Although Bennett was the only multiple winner, all of the finalists had to win their divisions to advance.

Cipriani, who finished second overall, had defeated Floyd Fabian Roza in the two-man battle of the Under-176 division, while overall third-place finisher Petterson Grifith retained his heavyweight title after getting past Rhon Loncke (who finished with two second-place trophies) and Alex Hamilton. Also in the mix was 26-year-old Derran Harris, who finished fourth overall with a promising package.

Emerson Campbell (middle) defended his Mr Physique trophy ahead of Tariq Dakhil (right) and Yannick Grimes.

Harris, who won the Novices bodybuilding competition this year, finished ahead of Tejpaul Gwendsammy in the Under-143 pounds category.
Meanwhile Lifetime Gym’s Leon Benjamin, who finished fifth, was able to get past Henry Bassy from Buddy’s Gym and Julian Alleyne from Fitness 53, to take the U-164 title.
In the Masters category, Bennett had gotten past Loncke and Donald Lindie, while in the Under-154 pounds he got the better of Jermaine Bacchus and Darius Ramsammy.

Although there were clear separations in the bodybuilding divisions, the same cannot be said for the Mr Physique. That battle was intense and the four Space Gym competitors delivered crowd-pleasing performances.
In the end, Campbell proved his superiority to retain his title. Tariq Dakhil upstaged former champion Yannick Grimes to finish second, while reigning Mr Novices Physique Delroy Phillips finished fourth.

In the two-woman Ms Bikini competition, Fung worked the judges and audience from her first step on the stage. She brought out a sassy side, which, along with her figure, helped to fend off her equally impressive Space Gym mate Barroncas.
Meanwhile, president of the GBBFF, Keavon Bess, who acted as MC for the evening, promised the contestants that next year’s competition would be bigger and that the federation is looking to increase the prizes.

He said it might include a motorcycle or a motorcar.
Along with Fitness Express, Space Gym, Fast Graphics, Stage of Champions, Digital Technology and Ellies Trading all contributed towards the success of the event.