Bodybuilding group encourages others


Contestants in last Saturday’s NMI Bodybuilding and Physique Championships give a final pose to photographers after the competition. From left, Jocelyn Itibus, Yoo Ran Hee, Star Gordon, Dee Clayton, Aaron Tomokane, Kelvin Fitial, Enrico Valdez, Zhang Wei, and Sean Japor. (Jon Perez)

The Northern Marianas Bodybuilding & Physique Federation is encouraging other health enthusiasts to try and join competitions that it organizes every year, especially now that more people are into keeping themselves fit.

NMBPF officials made the statement after Saturday’s NMI Bodybuilding and Physique Championships held at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center where only nine competed in the six categories up for grabs. Unlike in previous years especially more than 20 years ago where more have been competing.

Federation vice president Jocelyn Itibus, who won the Women’s Open Bodybuilding, has competed for the second time and she challenged other individuals to give it a try. “I challenge those who are into fitness, especially the ladies to join.”

“I was like them before, I was nervous. I know it is scary and nerve-wracking standing in front of the judges and other people wearing a two-piece bikini but there’s more to it once you overcome your fear,” Itibus told Saipan Tribune.

She added that competing for the first time changed her views and improved her personally. “Training not only changes your physique but the experience would also boost your self esteem. You’ll feel more confident and make you a better person.”

Itibus said she trained for 18 weeks to prepare for her first competition organized by NMBPF. She continued with her routine after that in time for Saturday’s competition and would again hit the gym to prepare for a major competition in the Pacific.

“I’ve been training the whole year since the first time I joined. Now, I would again train harder, which is geared for October, the Pacific Championship,” added the 31-year-old teacher at Marianas High School.

Honiara in the Solomon Islands will be hosting the 23rd edition of the Pacific Body Building Championship in October where NMBPF president John Davis is hoping to send a CNMI team. Tahiti hosted last year’s competition.

“The South Pacific Bodybuilding Federation organized the competition. We will try to send a team and will give it a shot. Hopefully, we could get more businesses involved in sponsoring our events and supporting our athletes. We’re going to start with our fundraising so we could have a team compete in the Solomon Islands,” added Davis.

Veteran bodybuilder Aaron Tomokane won the Open Bodybuilding category, while Enrico Valdez ruled the Open Men’s Physique competition with Kelvin Fitial and Zhang Wei placing second and third, respectively.

Star Gordon, 48, bested 64-year-old Yoo Ran Hee in the Master Women’s Physique, Sean Japor went home with the Junior Men’s Physique title, and 59-year-old Dee Clayton won the Masters Ladies Bikini category.

“If these ladies who are over their 40s could do it, why not those who are younger. I admire these ladies’ determination and confidence,” said Josephine Togawa, who was one of the judges in the competition.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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