Americans dominate at annual Far East bodybuilding contest
Stars and Stripes August 9, 2006
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Bodybuilders from throughout the island gathered here Sunday to compete in the 11th Annual Far East Bodybuilding Tournament in front of a packed audience at the Butler Theater.
The event started with a resounding bang thanks to a performance by Sakura Daika, a taiko drumming group. The 45 competitors faced off in three women’s and seven men’s categories.
“Our numbers for local-national competitors was down from last year, but the number of military competitors was up,” said Michael Boaghton, a Semper Fit sports coordinator and one of the announcers for the event.
He attributed the drop in local competitors to the fact that the competition took place during obon, a Buddhist holiday period during which ancestors are commemorated.
Judges selected a first- through fifth-place finisher in each category as well as a top male and a top female body builder.
Americans swept first place in all three women’s categories. Americans also won six of the seven men’s categories.
The women’s lightweight winner, Gloria Puckett, went on to win the women’s overall title. She has been in training for a year and attributed her win to the help of her coach, Gina Burton. Burton placed first in the women’s lightweight category last year.
Local bodybuilder Yoshinori Nakasone placed first in the men’s bantamweight category and beat out the other six men’s category winners to take the overall title.
Ronnie Harrison, 40, a Marine sergeant major, took first place in the men’s lightweight division.
“I’m all about motivating others,” he said of the competition. Showing his Marines that a 40-year-old can compete at this level is what this win meant to him, he said.
“I am all about showing them that what they believe is impossible is very possible,” he said.
Weight class winners in Sunday’s Far East Bodybuilding Tournament :
Lightweight: Gloria Puckett, age 32Middleweight: Tammy Courtney, 36Heavyweight: JoAnne Briggs, 38MEN