Iakopo, Long top women’s competitions

Filomenaleonisa Iakopo won the women’s figure category of 2021 Dee Clayton Classic

Filomenaleonisa Iakopo won the women’s figure category of 2021 Dee Clayton Classic last Saturday night at the Saipan World Resort. (MICHAEL JORNAL)

One is following the footsteps of her champion bodybuilder father, while the other is carrying the hopes of an entire island as the first-ever representative of Tinian in the Dee Clayton Classic.

Filomenaleonisa Iakopo and Cielo Long did their family and home island proud after topping the figure and bikini portions, respectively, of the 2021 Dee Clayton Classic held last Saturday at the Saipan World Resort.

Iakopo, the daughter of Stanley who is a champion bodybuilder himself and the executive officer of the CNMI Office of Veterans Affairs, won the figure category after scoring 9 points from judges Jonas Barcinas, Dan Chase, and Ferdinand Lagmay.

The 15-year-old Kagman High School student said bodybuilding is just another sport in a long line of sports she’s taken a liking to.

“I have a lot of sports and will definitely continue [with bodybuilding]…It has just a lot of discipline, a lot of self-control, a lot of hard work, sacrifices.”

She also took time to dedicate her figure title to her parents.

“I dedicate this first to God and to my parents—my mom and my dad, who have always supported me throughout this journey. They’ve always been my side and asking if I’m OK. Always making sure that I’m always reaching my goals. Anybody who wants to get into health and fitness, definitely do it as it’s always good for you.

Iakopo also tipped her hat to organizer Dee Clayon for holding the 10th Dee Clayton Classic.

“Thank you so much to miss Dee Clayton for having this event still even if there’s this COVID. Thank you so much. It’s such a good event. It went smoothly and it’s perfect.”

Coming in second in the figure category was Jamila Alegre (8 points), while third place went to Christina Tudela (7 points).

Cielo Long won the women’s bikini category of 2021 Dee Clayton Classic

Cielo Long won the women’s bikini category of 2021 Dee Clayton Classic last Saturday night at the Saipan World Resort. (MICHAEL JORNAL)

Long, who finished with 7 points to win the bikini category, said she just hopes to inspire others in her home island to spread their wings and take part in competitions outside of Tinian or pick up bodybuilding as a sport.

“I just want to say I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and I hope I can serve as someone that motivate other people who want to do this, who’d like to engage to do this type of discipline and that it’s possible. I’m only 17 and I’m from Tinian and Tinian’s first competitor [in the Dee Clayton Classic]. So I’m just glad that I get to represent them in my behalf,” she said.

The daughter of Tinian businessman Philip Mendiola-Long said sometimes people really don’t understand the preparation that goes behind bodybuilding.

“It’s very strict and you learn a lot about yourself in the process. You really get to understand what fuels yourself and what is properly able to be consumed. You also engage in extreme workouts—high reps, high weight, low reps, low weight. It can range from anywhere. It’s very strict but it’s a great experience,” she said.

Long also reiterated how proud she is representing Tinian in the Dee Clayton Classic.

“I love my home. I love my island and I’m just glad to be their first competitor from there.”

Mijana Malabayabas finished second to Long in the bikini category with 6 points, while Divine Sablan was third with 5 points.

In the fitness category, Vanessa Lorejo triumphed with a perfect score of 9 points followed by Desolee Calayo and Rosana Lopez with 6 points and 4 points apiece. Jamila Alegre was the lone entry in the women’s physique category and won, while the fitness pageant portion was topped by Amy Alano with Annie Tampus and Connie Quidato finishing second and third, respectively.

Results of the other categories of the 2021 Dee Clayton Classic will be published in the next issues of Saipan Tribune.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com

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