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COVID-19 Forces Jamaica’s Infamous Spartan Health Club to Closedown

COVID-19 Forces Jamaica’s Infamous Spartan Health Club to Closedown

by Howard Campbell

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Kingston gym where Bob Marley hung out with Miss World Cindy Breakespeare is set to close at the end of September.

Spartan Health Club, the Studio 54 of gyms in Jamaica, has buckled under financial challenges brought on by COVID-19, its founder and managing director Micky Haughton-James announced.

“Large gyms like Spartan require significant membership to be viable. A crowded gym is a hotspot for the coronavirus, which is predicted to be with us for many more months,” Haughton James said in a statement.

A former soccer player, Haughton-James opened Spartan in 1975. He was the Jamaican franchise holder for Miss World for nearly 40 years before stepping down in 2018.

Spartan produced two Miss Worlds — Breakespeare in 1976 and Lisa Hanna in 1993. Several of the gym’s Miss Jamaica winners including Debbie Campbell and Sandra Foster placed in the Miss World top 10.

Marley’s romance with Breakespeare also helped elevate Spartan’s profile. At the time she won the Miss World title, he was on his way to superstardom.

Though he was married, Marley and Breakespeare had an open relationship that produced a son, Damian, now world-famous as Grammy winner Junior Gong.

Jacob Miller of the Inner Circle band, Bob Andy and members of Third World were other regulars at Spartan.

In recent years, star sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake and former Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Courtney Walsh, worked out at the gym.

Allan “Skill” Cole, arguably Jamaica’s greatest soccer player and Marley’s best friend, was part of the Spartan setup since inception.

“In the 1970s it attracted the middle-class who were health-conscious. Spartan opened the eyes of people to the importance of being fit and eating right,” said Cole.



South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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