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Ms. International—Yaxeni Keeps It Alive With Five

In the couple of weeks leading up to the Arnold Sports Festival after we found out that Iris Kyle would be out of the Ms. International due to a leg injury, one question was on everybody’s lips. Who would take the title that Iris had claimed six times. Naturally Debi Laszewski had her supporters, as did Brigita Brezovac and last year’s symmetrical sensation, Alina Popa. One major contender didn’t seem to be getting much buzz.

My answer to the question of who’s gonna win was another question: Is Yaxeni gonna be in shape? I would say. ’Cause with Iris out, Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia, who has already won this contest four times, is gonna be motivated to fill the void.

And she was—motivated and in shape, with as much deep definition on her imposing 5’7″ physique as she has ever had to earn her fifth Ms. I title. In combo with her excellent structure, it was too much for any of the 13 other contenders to overcome.

Laszewski, who brought her best possible package to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium and Greater Columbus Convention Center stages, had to settle for second. Covered in muscle and beyond ripped, she just couldn’t beat Yaxeni in the total-package department.

Speaking of total packages, Popa, who took third, is definitely one to watch. Structure, symmetry and condition are among her better features, and I hope she doesn’t think she needs to chase more size to play in the big leagues. She’s obviously doing just fine as she is.

Cathy Le Francois, trimmed a bit and looking the best she has in a couple of years, came close to catching Alina but ultimately landed in fourth. Kim Buck, displaying her most refined physique to date, got fifth, and Bresovac landed in sixth.

This was a top-three Olympia qualifier under the IFBB’s new rules. That made Popa the one new addition for the ’12 Ms. O lineup. Find the complete results below.

Photo of Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia by Roland Balik.

’12 Ms. International

1) Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia*

2) Debi Laszewski*

3) Alina Popa*

4) Cathy Le Francois

5) Kim Buck

6) Brigita Bresovac

7) Alevtina Goroshinskaya

8) Rita Maria Bello

9) Kim Perez

10) Monique Jones

11) Zoa Linsey

12) Maria Segura

13) Tina Chandler

14) Geraldine Morgan

*Qualifies for the ’12 Ms. Olympia.

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