In the 14 years of this competition, it is the first time a First Citizens entrant has managed to top the field and take the crown and the glory back to the First Citizen’s Institution.
The anticipation and excitement from the start of the recently held 14th edition of the Ms. CariFin Fitness pageant reached fever pitch as members of the financial services sector gathered at the Sevilla Golf course in Couva on Sunday May 28, 2017 at approximately 12.30 p.m. to witness the highlight of the Cross Country and CariFin Fun Family Day.
The Ms. CariFin Fitness pageant serves to showcase the chosen female athletes who are employees of each of the participating financial institution. The participants must be able to demonstrate their commitment to health, fitness and to living an active lifestyle; all while embracing CariFin’s ideals and values of Fun, Fitness & Friendship. Leah Lewis of 5 Star Gym who was the aerobic instructor for the evening praised the contestants.
“The ladies were quite enthusiastic. It’s nice to know that those ladies are taking health and exercise seriously. This is a great initiative you all have to build camaraderie. I hope CariFin continues to grow.”
The areas for judging the Ms. CariFin Fitness Pageant 2017 were the team fitness/dance routine, aerobics competition and a Q & A segment.
The competition was rather tough this year with five teams in the fray, with all coming from a strong aerobics background. Some even had professional dance experience under their belt. The atmosphere was tense, the competitors were nervous and the onlookers were ready to be entertained to see who would be Ms. CariFin 2017.
New comers and first timers to this competition, Sagicor, was ready to make their appearance in this event count for something. Their representative, Cherisse Oliver (the 2017 aerobics champion) was dressed in Arabic attire, with an eight-member strong team providing backup, they were ready to experience the Ms. CariFin Fitness Pageant.
First Citizens had the honor of having Falomi Marcano, a three-time consecutive CariFin aerobics winner as their representative. She appeared by herself and gave the performance of a lifetime.
ANSA Financial Services team of five attracted the attention of onlookers and used it to their advantage. Kelsey Devignes showed her love for dancing and flexibility and her high kicks, which have become her trademark in the competition.
Team CBTT with a four-member team; three being former Ms. CariFin participants, provided good back up for Salina Scott, (the unbeaten female runner in the Urban Challenge of the Games) who was enjoying her role as the Ms. CBTT representative.
Guardian Group went first, Ms. Reneise Perez was supported by two other team members and it being their first time also in the competition, they started the ball rolling with some pretty fascinating moves.
In the end of the fitness/dance routine, ANSA Financial Services scored the most points in this section. About her experience, this is what Kelsea Devignes had to say “My CariFin Games 2017 experience was definitely one to remember. Representing my group as their Ms. CariFin Fitness Pageant rep gave me the opportunity to develop new relationships with my colleagues and allowed me to inspire others to excel in the competition in the future. #Fun #Fitness #Friendship
Aerobics has that way of letting you measure the movement and timing of participants in a group to see how they do against the performance of one another and the instructor in a way that is probably second to none.
The event was exciting to view as the girls were experienced participants in this genre of sports and the spectators got involved supporting their favorites. It was with utter delight to see the form and display from the group as the instructor took them through their paces. Leah Lewis the instructor from 5 Star Gym dished out over 15 minutes of fast pace, intense aerobics, including high side kicks, push-up, squats, and many other moves that the Ms. CariFin entrants replicated with crisp and almost exact movements that had the crowd animated and very involved using various vocal expressions.
“My experience in representing as Ms. Sagicor for the Ms. CariFin Fitness pageant will always be a memorable one because it was the first time that Sagicor had ever participated in MS CariFin Fitness Pageant, she added, as an individual I felt honored and appreciated since I had one hundred percent support from my team and organization.” This is how the Sagicor representative, Cherisse Oliver felt about her participation
Q & A
The question and answer segment had supporters wanting to take on the role of judges as this was the final stage of competition and onlookers wanted their favorites to win. However, we all know the judges have the last say. The judges decided that the answer given by Ms. First Citizens was good enough to give her the most points for this category.
The judges collaborated for some time and then chief judge, Susan Blood, presented the list of winners to the MC Rona Arrindell, who made the announcement.
The top three winners for 2017 are:
1st: Falomi Marcano – First Citizens
2nd: Kelsey Devignes – ANSA Financial Services
3rd: Cherisse Oliver – Sagicor
When the declaration was made that Ms. First Citizens won the Ms. CariFin Pageant celebrations erupted from the First Citizens camp and spread to other onlookers as Falomi Marcano became the first ever Ms. CariFin winner for the institution. Flag wavers, banners holders and screaming and dancing fans came to greet and celebrate with her. About her victory, an overwhelmed Falomi Marcano had this to say, “The experience was fantastic, it made me reach deep within myself and showed me how much talent still lies within. Therefore “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves”- Thomas A. Edison.
In the end Ms. CariFin 2016 – Christine Villafana placed the 2017 sash across Falomi and then crowned the new Ms. CariFin. To top off the experience, the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Alvin Hilaire, presented her with a bouquet of flowers.