Siparia-born Shimron Sookermany and Marisa Khan-Lutchman of Claxton Bay have been crowned the new national men's and women's champions when the 2108 T&T Bodybuilders Federation hosted its Senior Championship at Cascadia Hotel & Conference Centre, Cascade, St Ann's on Saturday night.
The 34-year-old Sookermany first captured the Men's Bodybuilding (80kg) Class ahead of Barry Copilah, Julius Martin and Rasheed Ali.
A member of the Muscle Plus Gym in Siparia and the Pt Fortin Fitness Centre, Sookermany then got the judges nod ahead of fellow divisional winners, Isaiah Garcia (70kg), Damian George (75kg), David Richards (85kg), Johnathan Joseph (90kg) and veteran campaigner Lee Beatrice (Over 100kg).
A relieved Sookermany commenting on his win first reflected on his preparations for the event which he described as very tough, not only on himself but his family.
'Preparation was very hard financially because as the body changes, so do your diet as well, and having to buy stuff like salmon, steak and lots of eggs and fresh green vegetables is a burden.'
'In addition to my wife (Anisa Pierre-Sookermany) and I have a nine-month-old daughter, so it was a lot of sacrifices being made when you consider that my days start with training at 3 am and then again when my wife comes home around 4 pm.
Sookermany who resides in Vance River, Point Fortin also credited his long-time trainer Cecil 'Dogey' Augustus, the man he credits with getting him into the sport as a teenager.'
Looking ahead, Sookermany said there are many opportunities for him to compete overseas, but once again finding the financial support will be a challenge.
'To be honest I have been competing and winning divisional titles for a number of years and I said to me I will give it one more try this year at the overall title.
Now that I have accomplished it, there is a chance for me to go to Barbados in three weeks' time, but it will be a challenge, because I will have to find money for airline tickets, hotel accommodation, my meals, and registration for the event, because the local federation just don’t have the cash right now, ended Sookermany.
Competing against Heidi Mahadeo in the Women's Physique Open category, Khan-Lutchman was a clear winner.
The 35-year old Khan-Lutchman whom earlier this year made a clean sweep of titles at the National Junior Championships, speaking on her victory said she was delighted with her victory.
She explained, 'My preparation for this event was very challenging, and very hard for me at times, but having my seven-year-old son (Zachariah Lutchman) as my motivating factor kept me going.'
Khan-Lutchman, who trains out of the Gulf View Health & Fitness Gym added, 'My son looks up to me a lot and I believe he likes what I do and wants to get into the sport as well at some point in time.'
Khan-Lutchman also praised her trainer and fellow athlete Wazim Mohammed for his full support.
'Wazim (Mohammed) is a great motivator and he has always been there for me and keeps pushing me even when I feel like giving up on the day.'
Looking ahead Khan-Lutchman said she hopes to compete regionally, most likely in Barbados next year as well as repeat her triumph at the national senior level.