Kristen McGregor opened her 2022 season with an encouraging top-five finish at the Fit Muscle Championships in Mexico last weekend (April 23). The performance sets the tone for what could be an outstanding season for the fitness athlete, who is desirous of competing at the Miss Olympia competition in December. However, she can only achieve this if she can get consistent sponsor support.

McGregor, the winner of the 2020 Miss Olympia Amateur title in the Women's Figure Category, is a former national champion and CAC Champion and is arguably Jamaica’s best female fitness athlete of the modern era. However, it has been a struggle to attract consistent sponsorship support as she strives for her career goals.

“The major challenge I face as a national athlete is corporate sponsorship. I am a bit disappointed with the responses I received for sponsorship requests seeking help to represent my country and hoping that I would have gotten good responses, even given the fact that I am a recipient of the Prime Minister's Youth Award,” lamented McGregor, who is the holder of a Bachelor's degree in Sports Science from the University of Technology (UTech).

“However, I have to give big thanks to the companies that gave their generous support such as EduCom, Geolosndo, VM Group and to the contributing supporters.

“I do hope that going forward I might receive better responses from other corporations and our sporting body. The lack of support and sponsorship can impact my goals to represent Jamaica at the Olympia, as I am unable to cover the expenses related to travel and accommodation to participate in the various competitions, where I can only compete as a professional athlete in my discipline. It is my dream to represent Jamaica at the highest level of bodybuilding.”

That dream has been the fuel driving McGregor's ambitions ever since she transitioned from athletics in 2017 and what sparked her singular focus during the off-season in preparation for 2022.

“It has been nothing but hard work for every show. Hard work and focus are the common denominators for every season prep. l am in the gym every day and on diet for a maximum of 16 weeks during preparation,” she revealed.

That work paid off in Mexico.

“A top-five finish is a great accomplishment, considering the progress from last year, where I also finished in the top five in Puerto Rico Pro, and in the Tampa Pro placing 4th and 11th, respectively. However, for my first show since 2022, finishing in the top five is a great place to finish because I have already started to accumulate points toward the quantifying for the Olympia Competition,” she said.

“Only second through fifth-place finishers for each contest, depending on the tier of the contest can accumulate points. All competitors will have between September 13, 2021, to November 20, 2022, to qualify whether by placement or points for the big show in December, the Olympia held in Las Vegas. That being said, the progress has been going well.”

Too well even. In fact, she worked so hard during the off-season she might have bulked up a tad much.

"Last year was a bit different from this year, as I really didn’t get a chance to train properly for my debut and my first Pro show coming out of winning the Amateur Olympia in December 2020. I contracted the COVID virus which caused me to stop training and in the time between recovery and my first show, which was the Puerto Rico Pro, I didn’t have much time to bulk so we went straight in for competition," she said.

"I figured that was the reason I was too small because I was burning muscles while in recovery. My coach, too, reassessed and ended my season after the Tampa Pro in June and we started working on bulking up from that time. I had a wonderful off-season, no injuries or sickness so I was training right through.

"I think this time around we gained good size. I was able to condition properly without burning muscles. Coming out of this show, the judges said I was perfect in shape. However, based on how the other girls came in I was too big so I have to lose a bit more and I would be okay. So yes, I am on a good path but with that, my coach has decided on reducing by about five to six pounds more for my next show on June 17-19, 2022 which is the Puerto Rico Pro."

 

 

Trinidadian bodybuilder Dexter Simon continues to amaze.

On Sunday, two and a half years since he last competed, he finished in the top five of the Ajman IFBB Elite Pro in Dubai while competing against men 20 years younger.

Competing in the Men’s Physique Professional category, the 53-year-old phenomenon made the top five to advance to the final where he was also fifth.

No wonder he was proud of the work that he put in preparing for the competition.

“After two years and six months off the stage, this start of the 2022 season @ifbbelitepro_official in Dubai was unforgettable,” he said following his latest accomplishment.

“The seven months of preparation with a laser-sharp focus and daily sacrifices all paid off.”

Iran’s Mazinar Kiani took the top spot while Enrique Guitierrez from Spain finished as the runner up.  Balthan Haimour of Jordan was third.

Notwithstanding finishing outside the top three, Simon, who is still in Dubai, was more than satisfied with his showing.

“This is not an easy task at the age of 53 to make a top five amongst men 30-plus years younger,” he said. “My testimony is about self-care and self-love. Understanding that age is just what people say you are and not what you should allow being told you are or should be.”

He praised his twin brother Derrick, who was instrumental in helping him achieve his goal.

“A massive special thanks to my brother for his unwavering support with my daily training for the last seven months. I know you have become very familiar with Panadol, Olfen, and gels hahaha,” he said. “I could not have done this without you at all bro!! 

“So many days you helped me through some taxing workouts and made me uncomfortable until I became very comfortable to suffer and grow. Your words of advice and belief in me made the journey even better and the result even sweeter. Top 5 was your request and payment for your suffering and that is what I delivered. “

And delivered he did. Derrick told Sportsmax.TV that during the seven months, he changed some elements of Dexter’s nutritional regime and his overall preparation.

So what did he think of the outcome? “Excellent,” he said. “When he asked me to support him, I told him I would only help if he did the work to finish in the top five. When he came off the stage, he called me and said ‘you asked for top five, you got it.”

Simon will next compete at the IFBB Florida Classic from June 25-25 before he does the IFBB Central American and Caribbean Championships in Barbados from July 27-August 1. He will then travel to Spain for the Arnold Classic from September 15-19.

Jamaica-born bodybuilder Shawn Rhoden died Saturday of a reported heart attack, according to multiple reports.

Kristen McGregor was quite pleased with her performance at last weekend’s Puerto Rico Pro in the Bahamas where she finished in the top-six even though she was a bit perplexed as to the reason given why she didn’t place higher.

In the competition that is a Tier-3 qualifier for Olympia qualification, McGregor, who won the Miss Olympia Amateur in the Women’s Fitness Category in 2020, placed fourth behind Puerto Rico’s Jessica Reyes Padilla, Mexico’s Mayra Hernandez and Heather Dees of the USA.

“The competition was just like any other competition for me. I always go in with no expectations. I trained hard, I put in the work, I am ready, this is always my mindset going into any competition,” McGregor told Sportsmax.TV this week.

“I am quite pleased with my placement. Going up against 20 plus veteran females, who have either competed in Ms Olympia before, multiple times, placing fourth on my pro debut, amongst such calibre athletes, I am very pleased.”

She admitted, however, that she was caught off guard by the comments of one of the judges with whom she spoke afterwards about why she did not place higher.

“To be honest, I am not sure if surprised is the right word. I was more speechless, lost, confused when the head judge approached me backstage and complimented me on my “amazing physique, X-factor and shape but then said the only thing was I was a little too small, which lead me to ask, “What do you mean?”

“He explained, ‘You just need to get more muscle maturity and density because you are right on the money which will come with time, dieting and training’”.

She said she took very important lessons from the judge’s critique but is now more than ever before assured that she is on the right track in terms of dieting and training and that her structure and build are spot on.

“The areas I need to improve on are muscle maturity and size which will come through continued training and dieting,” she said. “But to get bigger for the next show now is all about increasing portion sizes and stepping up that training which my coaches are already over.”

As she continues on her journey to qualify for Ms Olympia, McGregor and her team have set their sights on the next Olympia Qualifying show, the IFBB Professional League Yamamoto Nutrition Cup Tampa-Pro-XIV National Qualifier at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tampa, Florida on August 5th-7th, 2021.

She thanked Jamaica’s Sports Development Foundation (SDF) and Proven Wealth as well as Victoria Mutual for the sponsorship support they provided that enabled her to compete in the Bahamas last weekend as she continues on her quest to Ms Olympia.

 

Fitness athlete Deidre Lewis has characterized as unfair the decision of an Independent Anti-Doping Panel to impose a two-year ban on her after she tested positive for the banned substance Zeranol.

Lewis returned an adverse finding for Zeranol following an out of competition test on September 29, 2020, and was notified of the results in December that year. Zeranol is a synthetic, nonsteroidal estrogen found in fungi and is used mainly as an anabolic agent in veterinary medicine. It also may be found as a contaminant in fungus-infected crops.

Following hearings on February 11, March 18 and 31 and April 2, the panel of Kent Gammon, Denise Forrest and Dr Donovan Calder “did not find on the evidence presented that the athlete, Ms Denis Lewis, bears no fault or negligence whereby the applicable period of ineligibility can be eliminated.

“In the circumstances of this case, the athlete is ineligible for a period of two years.”

The two years began in December 2020, when the athlete was first notified of the adverse finding.

Lewis, who maintains that she did not intentionally ingest Zeranol, feels she was unfairly punished.

“I feel it was a bit unfair although they were doing their jobs,” she told Sportsmax TV in reaction to the ruling that was handed down earlier this week.

She said her diet is about 80 per cent plant-based and because of that she has to consume large amounts of grains and nuts to get the amount of nutrients her body requires for her to achieve the desired results. However, she was unable to pinpoint what food she might have consumed that was contaminated with the banned substance.

Lewis, who won the Ms Jamaica Bikini Fitness Short Class Champion and the Overall Bikini Fitness Champion in 2019, said she has always been compliant with the measures imposed not only by the JABBFA but also the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission. “I have remained complainant and transparent with my whereabouts reporting and have always been available for random tests during and outside of my sixty-minute testing times,” she said in her witness statement.

“In total, I have been subjected to six tests, the first of which was in 2017 at the National Championships. A majority of my tests were done between 2019 and 2020. I was tested at the national championship on September 8, 2019, and at the Central America and Caribbean Championships (CAC) on October 13, 2019,” she said.

“In 2020 I was tested on February 25, July 15, and on September 29. All of the tests conducted in 2020 were out-of-competition tests. I have never resisted any test that I have ever been subjected to and I am always easy to locate, even outside of my allotted sixty-minutes timeslot for testing. All of my test results have come back negative, except for the adverse findings in this instance, which has caused me significant emotional distress and financial strain.”

During the hearing the panel heard testimony from Professor Dr Wayne McLaughlin who said that based on the amount of Zeranol found in Lewis’ urine, he concluded that it occurred from ‘natural intake’, suggesting that the athlete did not deliberately take the substance to enhance performance.

“From these findings of very low levels of α-zeranol (0.04nh/ml) and β-zeranol (0.16ng/ml) in the athlete’s sample would imply natural intake. It is, therefore, our opinion that the substances found in the athlete’s urine sample support the assumption that mycotoxin contamination caused the findings in the doping control specimens rather than a misuse of the anabolic agent.”

However, Professor McLaughlin did concede that there were few studies on humans with Zeranol.

“This is disheartening,” Lewis said, “because there is limited research. I don’t feel it’s fair but I have to live with it. I would like to appeal but I don’t have the money.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary (JADCO) has convened an Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel to hold a disciplinary hearing for national bodybuilder Deidre Lewis.

A few weeks ago, revelations came to light that an athlete had returned an adverse analytical finding, but the details of the situation have been kept relatively close to the association.

According to the release, Lewis will face the disciplinary panel via a virtual hearing, on Thursday.  The release also stated that the hearing, as is the protocol of JADCO, will be held in-camera.

Lewis, who competes in the Bikini Fitness Short Class category, won the national title last year, before competing in Aruba last August where she was second in the short class, finishing behind Febe Moreno of Mexico.  Lewis was third overall in the Bikini Fitness category.

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