Santiago, Kawahara take top honors

Posted on Sep 05 2011

Johnny Santiago and Yumiko Kawahara were declared overall champions in Saturday’s Dee Clayton Classic-2011 Marianas Bodybuilding Championships held at the Pedro P. Tenorio Muliti-Purpose Center in Susupe.

Santiago is a 42-year old electrical technician from Dandan and is a regular at Gold’s Gym. He also won first place in the male bodybuilder middleweight class ahead of Catalino Riodique of Garapan.

The 51-year old Kawahara, meanwhile, is a tour supervisor and a resident of Capital Hill.

All 11 participants were first-time competitors.

Other winners include 55-year-old homemaker Jamriang Frieden, who took first prize in both the bikini and female figure tall class. Lucia Morales, a 41-year-old dentist from Garapan, won runner-up honors in the tall division, while 43-year-old teacher Bernie Palacios of Dandan took first runner-up in the bikini division.

Gold’s Gym employee, 20-year-old Raymond “Ray-Ray” Santos of Koblerville, won first place in the male physique category ahead of co-worker, 20-year-old Joel Tudela of Dandan, and 40-year-old trade specialist Manny Aaron of Kagman.

In addition, 37-year-old driver Gayan Perera of Tanapag won first place in the male bodybuilder lightweight class.

Bodybuilder G. Gray of Guam was on hand as the special guest judge along with Jerome Ierome, Belle Busby, Jeff Boyer of IP&E, Hyatt Regency Saipan’s Robin Sapong, and Marianas High School’s John Davis.

All category winners received medals of recognition, while the overall winners were awarded trophies.

Event organizer Dee Clayton has been planning this event for two years and hopes to feature the spectacle as an annual event and wants to invite competitors from Guam and open it to military entrants.

“It took a lot of planning to finally put on this event and I am really excited to expose this sport to the CNMI. Promoting fitness promote healthy lifestyles and I want this sport-hobby to grow on island,” said Clayton.

Clayton is a Saipan resident who started getting involved with bodybuilding and fitness competitions back in 1997.

She has won medals in the Pacific Games; Guam’s Kontenda Classic; and recently competed in the Stingray Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Saipan Fitness Center’s Jim Rice turned her on to the sport and since then she has competed in bodybuilding for two years, fitness competitions for seven, and competed most recently in the bikini category this past year.

Although Saipan has offered bodybuilding events for men in the past, the Dee Clayton Classic is the first competition to offer women’s events.

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