Bodybuilding president: “Count 2020 as a loss”

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Keavon Bess, President of Guyana Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, foresees sport associations and federations finding it difficult to access funds from the private sector post-COVID-19.

This is the fear of many associations, a large majority of whom depend solely on corporate support to carry out their programmes.

Financial support has always been a major bugbear for local sports, and that issue is expected to magnify, given the economic impact the coronavirus has already had on local businesses.

It is for this reason Bess believes 2020 is a “loss” for sport, and attention should now be on 2021.

The GABBFF’s calendar of activities for 2020 has nine events listed and thus far only the Novices Championship and Mr. Berbice, which was held February 15, has been completed.

The next event, the Intermediate Championships/Mr. Linden, was slated for April 25.

Initially, the plan for most of these events, especially with the Seniors in August, was to reward athletes with a bigger financial purse.

However, with the current economic situation created by the coronavirus, the general presumption is that it would become increasingly difficult for the private sector to support with the same level of commitment it did prior to the pandemic.

“If corporate Guyana does not have sufficient funds to sponsor events as a result of COVID-19, therefore we can’t access funds from them and if we can’t access funds from them, therefore we can’t give the prizes to athletes that we would have wanted,” Bess said.

Bess, who also serves as legal counsel for the Caribbean Bodybuilding Federation, said undoubtedly most of their plans for 2020 have to be shifted to 2021.

“Whatever we wanted to do in 2020, we will do in 2021 plus what we had planned in 2021, provided we have the funds to do it. From the administrators and the athletes, we have to count 2020 as a loss. It has to be a year for us to reflect and prepare for the future.”

He added, for most major companies their fiscal year finishes in September-October and with now being May and still no positive sign of a resolution to the current pandemic, it certainly means there won’t be ample time to engage in lengthy discussions on funding as per normal.

Bess further indicated the Guyana Olympic Association is providing face masks or care packages to athletes who are in need, and is asking them to contact any executive member of the federation to be able to access.

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