Damion Daniel, a beefy Grenadian policeman, is celebrating as the new king of the 2015 Darcy Beckles Invitational Bodybuilding Classic.
One of the bodyguards of Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, 35-year-old Daniel out-flexed and out-muscled a mix of regional contenders to win the annual prestigious event at the Lloyd Erskine Centre on Saturday night.
In a competition that clearly pitted Mr Grenada up against inform Barbadian Stevenson Belle, a CAC champion, Daniel edged his arch-rival for the second time in four months after the two had also clashed at the SportsWorld Classic in Trinidad and Tobago.
Both showcased over 200 pounds of ripped muscles before Daniel got the nod of the judges and a cash prize of $4000. Belle was second and took $2200, while Vincentian Garwin Phillips, a policeman in Bermuda, was voted third.
“I am really happy… I was third in this event back in 2008 and I think my hard work and dedication paid off. I was in good condition this time and want to thank all who supported me, particularly the Prime Minister of Grenada,” said Daniel.
The annual Darcy Beckles Classic, now in its eighth year, is named after the celebrated Barbadian bodybuilder who won the Mr World title in 1975 and was also a two-time silver-medallist at Mr Olympia in the 1970s. Beckles, 68, was on hand to present the trophy to the new champion.
Earlier, the ever-improving Barbadian Laron Gibson, Anguillan Geshane Clarke and Samuel Eastmond took the top three places in the highly competitive Open Classic division and qualified for the feature competition but could not challenge the dominance of Daniel.
More than 60 male and female bodybuilders and Body-Fitness competitors sought to impress the judges on a night which also featured keen rivalry in other divisions.
Barbadian and CAC champion Hadley Hoyte won the men’s physique contest while compatriot, and also reigning CAC champion, Deidre Archer, took the women’s equivalent.
Barbadian Shakira Doughlin, a primary school teacher, continued her outstanding form this year as she captured the women’s Bikini-Fitness title, while Dionne Thompson, also of Barbados, emerged Body-Fitness champion.
Competitors from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, St. Maarten, St Kitts, St Martin, St Lucia and St Vincent took part in the 2015 Darcy Beckles Classic.
The capacity crowd was also treated to guest-posing by giant-sized world-rated American bodybuilder Kai “The Predator” Greene and Canadian Body-Fitness champion Ryall Graber.
Greene said he had a spiritual connection with Barbados long before he visited the island last weekend.
A ripped major contender for the Mr Olympia title in recent years, Greene said he was inspired by several of the island’s legendary bodybuilders while training as a rookie in his hometown of New York.
“I knew of Barbados long time ago… guys like Bernard Sealy, Ian Mercer, Albert Scantlebury and Kenny Hall encouraged me to aim higher and dig deeper. They were amazing people, I love Barbados,” he said.
With such an endorsement, Greene quickly connected with hundreds of body-fitness enthusiasts and curious supporters of bodybuilding while giving them something to remember during his guest-posing routine.
Dressed in red costume, simulating the presence of a gladiator and complete with red hat and boots, Greene mixed a provocative posing routine with daring head-stands that thrilled the capacity crowd and often sent them into a cheering frenzy.
One of the most memorable moments of his routine left the audience in awe when Greene, using a chair he had brought on stage, performed a head-stand that tested the strength of his neck and its ability to hold-up 292 pounds of bulk.
Said Greene: “I love Barbados and I am happy to put on a show for the people. I really enjoyed it “.
(Reproduced from Barbados Today, an online newspaper)