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Nine to enter Bodybuilding Hall of Fame later this year

Sumner said that about 30 to 40 persons will be honored at nationals
  • Former local bodybuilder Della Thomas is one of nine persons who will be inducted into the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame this year. The others are Jeremy Knowles, Maxine Darville, the late Melanie Feaste, Amos Saunders, Dwight Palacious, Baldwin Darling, Henry Charlton and Sam Williams. FILE

Guardian Sports Editor

Published: May 15, 2013

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With the country celebrating its 40th year of independence this year, it was only fitting for the one sports federation whose nationals coincide with the actual independence to do something to signify the occasion.

The Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) is also celebrating the number 40 this year, as it will host its 40th National Championships, formerly the Mr. and Mrs. Independence Bahamas Championships. The venue is yet to be decided, but BBFF President Danny Sumner, confirmed that it will coincide with the 40th anniversary celebrations of the nation.

As a special gesture this year, the federation will be re-introducing its hall of fame inductions. The Class of 2013 will feature nine new members, namely Jeremy Knowles, Della Thomas, Maxine Darville, the late Melanie Feaste, Amos Saunders, Dwight Palacious, Baldwin Darling, Henry Charlton and Sam Williams.

“We were one of the first national federations to hold a major event, which was done in conjunction with the independence of this country, and we wanted to do something special,” said Sumner. “What we are doing this year is going to be huge. We intend to honor a number of outstanding athletes, judges and officials who would have contributed to the sport over the past 40 years. In addition to the nine people who will be inducted into the sport’s hall of fame, we will be honoring between 30 to 40 other people for their contribution.”

According to Sumner, Jeremy Knowles, who won as much as six Mr. Bahamas titles, was one of the most dominating athletes during his period. He also serves as a chief judge during BBFF events. Thomas, who went head-to-head with Darville for many overall titles during the BBFF nationals, was one of the top female athletes in the country, and the entire Caribbean, according to Sumner. Sumner said that she dominated the middleweight division for a number of years, and Darville dominated the heavyweight division. Sumner also said that Feaste, who will be honored posthumously, was one of the top female athletes in Grand Bahama, and Saunders was an excellent bodybuilder.

Dwight Palacious competed, served as a chief judge in Freeport and is a former president of the Grand Bahama Body Building and Fitness Association. Baldwin Darling, who also is a long-time

president of the association, is an excellent motivator and one of the top coaches and administrators in the country, according to Sumner. A lot of athletes trained under him, and he will enter the hall as athlete, coach and motivator. Henry Charlton, who was regarded as the best poser in Grand Bahama during the past 40 years, was an outstanding bodybuilder, according to Sumner. “He brought posing to a new level, as an amateur and professional,” said Sumner.

Finally, Sumner said that Grand Bahamian Sam Williams was an outstanding bodybuilder, and will enter the hall as an athlete.

Also expected to be honored that night is former Mr. World Kingsley Poitier, Michael Curtis, Dr. Norman Gay, Leo Mackey, Richard Demeritte, Paul Wong, Danny Sumner himself, Edison Deleveaux, the husband and wife team of Ray and Jenny Whylley, Bert Bell, Sherwin Major and Arthur Eldon, just to name a few.

“All of these persons have contributed greatly to the sport over the past 40 years,” said Sumner. “This is the second time around for the hall of fame, we are going to honor about 30 to 40 other persons, and also we plan on honoring former Sports Minister Algernon Allen. Our sport became a core sport during Allen’s tenure. We believe that he did more for sports as a minister than any other minister who we have seen. We’re not saying that the other ministers didn’t do a good job, we just feel that Minister Allen did an outstanding job. We feel that he was the best one that we worked with over the years.”

To be eligible for the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, an athlete would have to be retired for at least five years, and Sumner said that they will also look at what that particular athlete, coach or administrator would have contributed.

As far as the national championships are concerned, Sumner said that athletes are definitely training.

“What we will do this year is combine the novice championships with the nationals,” said Sumner. “The venue is yet to be decided but more than likely it will be held at the Theatre of the Performing Arts. We anticipate a good group this year. I think it will give the novices a good feel of what it is like to be competing at the senior level.”

Leading up to nationals will be the Northern Bahamas Championships which will be held in late June.

“That is going to be the springboard for the nationals,” said Sumner. “We are looking forward to a very good show in Grand Bahama. I think that it is going to give us an idea of how many athletes will be competing in the nationals.”

Sumner also spoke of the possibility of high schools competing in the nationals this year. He said that has always been a goal of his, and something that he would like to see brought to fruition.

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