The 2004 Paradise Cup Bodybuilding Championships was one of the most impressive Hawaii bodybuilding shows that I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. The prejudging was only a glimpse into the spectacle that would develop during the night show. This was the first year that the Paradise Cup was a National Physique Committee (NPC) national qualifier. This meant that Hawaii’s hardest and most conditioned had to bring their “A” game. Guy Leong definitely has made the Paradise cup the premier Bodybuilding show in Hawaii. There was much to anticipate in addition to the actual show. Hawaii’s National team that will be competing in the November 2004 USA Championships in Texas were slated to guess pose. The audience was given a preview into how Rey “Sting-Rey” Ronquillo, Shavis Higa, Roland Aki, and Johnny Ligsay looked only one week prior to the USA Championships. All of these national competitors came in conditioned, lean, and focused as was demonstrated in their routines. The IFBB professionals were also in attendance which always adds a sense of excitement to any show. Art Atwood, Kris Dim, and George Farah gave stellar posing routines not to mention being extremely massive. Kris Dim had just come back from competing in the Holland Grand Prix, where he edged out Markus Ruhl for a 4th place finish.
In the Men’s Novice division Norman Keliiwaiwaiole took overall winner and best poser. Norman has been training for 12 years and credits his success to hard training and perseverance. At only 30 years old, Norman should be an up and coming star in the Hawaii bodybuilding community. In the Men’s Open division, Brian Mercado won the coveted overall title. Taking home the best poser award was Brian Copeland. In the Men’s Master’s division, Baltazar Calzentas won the overall title. The Best poser award went to Chauncey Murakami.
The Women’s division was definitely filled with controversy, and for good reason. This year’s lightweight division between Irene Eddins, Carol Calbaldon, and Diana Bumanglag was probably one of the hardest to call. It definitely tested the judges’ mettle. Although everyone looked great Irene Eddins prevailed in the lightweight division as the champion with Carol Calbaldon taking second and Diana Bumanglag third. The women’s overall winner and best poser went to a very deserving Robin Nee. The Team Award went, once again, to 24 Hour Fitness. Accepting the award on their behalf was Rey “Sting-Rey” Ronquillo.
The level of commitment and dedication required to compete at the Paradise Cup will ensure that future shows continue to become better and better. The positive attention and public interest that is generated, not only towards bodybuilding, but also fitness is supported by well-executed and attended shows like the Paradise Cup. We look forward to next year, when the stage will be haunted by yet another wave of warriors looking to claim the title of Paradise Cup champion.
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