BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – FORMER bodybuilder turned trainer, Mark Whetton is lobbying for the advancement and promotion of the sports discipline within the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis.
Having been an active bodybuilder for about 20 years, within which time he had garnered a wealth of experience and knowledge, Whetton now trains Collin Lazarus, who was born in Guyana but has been residing in Nevis for more than two decades and competes under the Federation's Flag.
The two have been working together for the past five years and Whetton said the dedication and commitment he has witnessed in Lazarus are unlike anything he has ever seen. This dedication, he explained, has yielded many fruits with Lazarus winning a number of competitions.
Whetton readily admitted that bodybuilding is an expensive venture, and because it is often funded by the bodybuilder and his/her coach, the scope of competitions is limited.
Nevertheless, he said there is much potential for the advancement of the sport within the Federation and untold opportunities and avenues for persons to pursue.
“I would love to see the sport advance here. Every year, from the last seven or eight years that I have been involved with St. Kitts and Nevis, we seem to have the same three, four maybe five people that always compete. And again, they do it because they love the sport and they basically fund themselves to do it. It is recognized as a sport in the Federation like cricket and football but without sponsorships.
“Bodybuilding comes in many categories! We also have the physique side of it for women. Women bodybuilding has kind of died off, so there are many alleys that people in St. Kitts could go down to make a professional team. There are some countries who would send 30 athletes; Trinidad sends a lot, Bahamas sends a lot, Antigua sends quite a few, Santo Domingo has quite a bit, but there is huge potential for people in St. Kitts. For such a small country between St. Kitts and Nevis there is huge potential. There are lots of people interested but they don’t have the finances to do that diet, buy that food and pay the gym fees perhaps.”
The Director of Engineering at the St. Kitts Marriott suggested that just as the Government supports other sport disciplines, consideration could be given to bodybuilding.
“The Government supports all these other sports…and seeing that this is a registered sport, they should put the same interest towards it as well. I am not sure how the other organisations operate, but with body building it’s all about what you eat; proteins, vitamins, supplements and things like that. I suggest that some sort of concession can be made for a registered athlete.”
Whetton, having moved to St. Kitts in 2001, competed in what was known as the Mr. Independence show and still competes internationally in Miami.
Speaking to the advantages he has gained and the overall advantage of bodybuilding, Whetton told SKNVibes, “It’s a way of life, a clean way of life, not only does it give you good health and stamina, it helps your mental focus and it helps in general with feeling well. It gives you discipline because it is something that you focus on…”
He said attempts are being made to promote bodybuilding within the Federation and that some sort of organization is in existence but “it needs to be further developed and a proper committee set up. We have been talking about it but assistance is needed in terms of the proper way to put it together”.