2011 Open UK Championships Report
Written by Lee Kemp
Photos by Michael Fawcett, D n S Video
September 25th saw the much anticipated inaugural UKDFBA Championships. A total of 47 athletes took the stage to battle it out for the ten class winners titles and the coveted Overall sword and WNBF Pro card. In the weeks and days leading up to the contest, there was a buzz of anticipation over who would prevail on the day, with some truly world class bodybuilders due to stake their claims on the titles. But now, the waiting time was over and we were about to find out who would be the “last man standing”.
For several days leading up to the contest itself, extensive Polygraph examination of the competitors took place, carried out by James J Charley who had travelled all the way from Philadelphia, USA on behalf of the WNBF. Everybody who took the test was happy and proud to do so, and a credit to the ethos of Drug Free Bodybuilding.
So, with a packed crowd in their seats and all athletes ready for action, here’s how the contest unfolded……
The show opened with the teenage class. Five top class young men, three of whom were competing for the first time took to the stage to lay claim to the first ever awarded UKDFBA title. When the dust settled, a jubilant Samuel Swann (Bodyshapers Gym, Kettering) took first place with a well muscled physique displayed in good condition and displayed competently for a debut competitor. Hot on his heels was David Close (Bodyshapers Gym, Kettering) who boasted a more compact and slightly more heavily muscled physique than Samuel but could not match him for condition and overall stage presence today. Jason Reid (Atlas Gym, Wolverhampton) rounded out the top three with great conditioning, and some very impressive leg development. When he matures and brings his upper body up to the standard of his legs he will be hard to beat, and at 17 years old still has 2 years to make waves in the teen division. Fourth placed Toby Whittington (Better Body Gym, Lowestoft) was a potential winner here, with the best balanced physique in the class which would have seen a far higher placing with the corresponding condition. Rounding out the top 5 was Scott Dickson (Fitness 1-2-1, Corby) who gave a creditable first time performance and shows great potential for the future.
David Close, Samuel Swann, Jason Reid|
Masters next, with an incredible Steve Howarth (Evolution, Sheffield) dominating the class with an untouchable combination of mass and conditioning. Steve has shown himself to be the best Masters competitor in the country over the last couple of years and his adding the UKDFBA title to his resume goes to further substantiate that claim. A tie breaker for the next two placings saw Mark Houghton (Muscleworks, Bethnal Green) land in second and Martin Duckett (Golds Gym, Bedford) in third. Two very different physiques, both boasting impressive muscle mass with Martin more compact and better conditioned but Mark pipping him at the post with his sweeping lines, tremendous structure and pro standard stage presence. A come-backing Jon Bibb (Powerhouse Gym, Bridlington) took a creditable fourth with incredible condition and evenly balanced musculature. Fighting back to health after serious illness a few years ago, Jon deserved every bit of the credit he received for returning to the stage in arguably his best ever shape and cracking the top 5 in such a great class. Courtney Smith (Pure Gym, Wolverhampton) rounded out the top 5 with his trademark hard condition, immaculate tan and effervescent stage presentation which saw him never take his usual beaming smile off his face once. The class was rounded out by Paul Todd (The Gallery, Windsor), Ieuan “Yoyo” Butler (Yoyos Gym, Crymych) and Felix McAlinden (Fitness First, Ballymena) who were all of a great standard and worthy of their places on the UK Championship stage.
Jon Bibb, Mark Houghton, Steve Howarth, Martin Duckett, Courtney Smith|
The novice class was as hotly fought and as tough to judge as we have come to expect over recent years. The seven man line-up was eventually won by an ecstatic Gregorio Arias (Nuffield, Yeovil) who although the lightest in the line-up showed that its quality that counts in the end by defeating much larger men with his awesome overall package of muscle, shape and condition. Szymon Mordas (Iron Bodies Gym, Dunstable) was a comfortable second with a taller, more heavily muscled physique than Gregorio but just not quite enough conditioning to match his conqueror. A tough contest for the next two places saw James Allan (Fitness 1-2-1, Corby) defeat a better conditioned Sandis Vidins (Future Fitness, Coventry) by virtue of an overall better balanced and more complete physique. Both men boasted great upper body development but the superior legs and overall presentation of James swung the result in his favour. The final placing went to Steve Seager (Genesis Gym, Wembley) who just needs more time to fill out his tall, long limbed physique but has certainly cracked the art of conditioning and posed well. Also in the class were Matej Slivon (Estuary Gym, Southend) and 47 year old Chris Hantulik (Olympic Powermill, Bury) who had shed around 40 pounds to make his long yearned for bodybuilding debut.
Steve Seager, James Allan, Gregorio Arias, Szymon Mordas, Sandis Vidins|
Ladies Fit Body (the WNBF division which corresponds with what we Brits call “Trained Figure”) was next and all of the top three girls coming from Ian Ducketts Body in Design Gym in Batley with a very impressive Danielle Chambers taking top spot. Danielle fitted the criteria for this class perfectly with “the right” level of development and conditioning, capped of with a superb posing display. Heidi Droger was second and improves with every outing as she continues to develop her near perfectly structured figure and her confidence in her stage presence grows. Joanne Todd took a very hard fought third over Emma Turton (Flex Gym, Leeds). Both ladies had excellent stage presence with Emma harder than Joanne, but appeared to be somewhat lighter than usual which affected her shape and level of fullness somewhat and would see her just pushed out of the top 3 by a very aesthetic Joanne. Fifth was Emma Grzona (Evolution, Sheffield) who made an impressive debut and worked hard on stage to take a close victory over Sharon Magee (Fitness First, Ballymena) who gets better with every contest she enters.
Emma Grzona, Heidi Droger, Danielle Chambers, Joanne Todd, Emma Turton, Sharon Magee|
Following the interval, the fantastic WNBF Pro Karen Mason opened up the second half of the contest with a superb guest spot, seven weeks out from her latest assault on the WNBF Pro World Championships. Karen was heavily muscled and well on course to be in her best ever shape in New York and showed the audience just what it takes to be one of the top Professional athletes in the World.
The Ladies Physique class boasted only two entries after the withdrawal of three competitors for various reasons in the weeks leading up to the contest. Nonetheless, what a pair of athletes these were with an incredible Anna Millington (Fitness First, Keighley) a clear winner with an amazing structure, evenly distributed with quality muscle on all points. Anna has pro potential without a doubt and her ultra professional posing display earned her the ladies best presentation title to boot. Runner up spot went to Sandra Mounsey (Elite Fitness, Penrith) who made a welcome return to the stage after a two year layoff and showed significant improvements to her physique since her last outing.
Sandra Mounsey, WNBF Pro Jon Harris, Anna Millington|
The first of the eagerly awaited mens weight classes came next in the shape of the Bantamweights. This title was won by a rock hard, ruggedly muscled Plamen Handarov (Legends Gym, Haringey) in strong fashion with the more aesthetic but lighter and slightly less conditioned Helder Barosso (Hot Bodies, Leicester) having to settle for second on this occasion. This was a close battle and a real “apples and oranges” contest between the two and the result would always be a closely fought one but today, Plamen had just a little too much for Helder. George Fereos (Pumping Iron Gym, London) bagged the final top three spot with his trademark airtight condition and great posing. David Briggs (Bodytech, Whitchurch) took fourth place with great condition, shape and stage presence and will be a force to be reckoned with once he fills out his frame with the muscle it will hold. Rounding out the top 5 was Keith Dalton (Stanstead Abbotts) who was the best he’d ever been with improvements in both muscle mass and condition since his last contest.
Helder Barosso, Plamen Handarov, George Fereos|
Perhaps the toughest contest of the day was the three-way war on the stage which was the battle for the top three spots in the Lightweight class. The judges had to concentrate hard to decide between the near flawless symmetry and shape of Damian Lees (Evolution Gym, Rochdale and Olympic Powermill, Bury), the brutal mass of Sandor Nagy (Soho Gym, London) and the tall, wide shouldered and supremely conditioned Craig Chadwick (Bodyworks Gym, Barnsley) and it took several rounds of comparisons to split them. In the end, Damian took the winners spot with incredibly complete leg development, the best front to back balance of the three and a killer side triceps shot and free posing display and great conditioning. Although more heavily muscled in some body parts, Sandor is yet to create the balance and maturity of muscle to topple an experienced competitor like Damian but is no doubt a champion in waiting in the near future. Craig graciously accepted third and was a credit to himself with the great conditioning he had achieved, and is destined for class wins without a doubt when he fills out his wide structured frame and potentially moves up a weight class. Fourth was Richard McWilliam (Fitness factory, Barton on Humber) who’s thickly muscled and well defined upper body was slightly ahead of his legs in terms of development but he was without a doubt the best he’d ever been as he continues to steadily improve his physique. Fifth was James Allan (who placed third in the Novices) and sixth was Felix McAlinden who was in his trademark hard condition but will always be “up against it” in line-ups of shorter, more heavily muscled men. Nonetheless, Felix enjoys his time on stage and it is always a pleasure to see him fighting it out up there.
Craig Chadwick, Damian Lees, Sandor Nagy|
The crowd was now approaching fever pitch as the Middleweights hit the stage, particularly on the appearance of local man and come backing former World Champion Mark Oakes (Future Fitness, Coventry) who swept to victory in his class with his trademark massively muscled and hard conditioned physique which he presented with his usual awesome posing display whilst roared on by his army of supporters. This class truly was a battle for second place, and that battle was fought out by Martin Petro (Techno Gym, Oldbury) and John Madourie (ZKK Underground Gym, Sheffield) with Martins significantly superior mass being the deciding factor in taking the decision over Johns better conditioning and mature muscle. Fourth was the shredded Chris Chapman (Evolution, Sheffield) making a welcome return to the stage after a 20 year absence and fifth was Phil Sims (Peak Fitness, Warwick) who had just mis-timed his peak for this contest but with some minor adjustments would have no doubt been shooting for a higher placing. Novice competitor Matej Slivon took sixth.
|Martin Petro, Mark Oakes, John Madourie|
|LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS UNDER 86KG|
Another “apples and oranges” contest was fought out in the mens Light Heavyweights with Gavin Gibson (Iron Bodies Gym, Dunstable) edging out a strong challenge from Masters runner up Mark Houghton. Gavin is heavily muscled in all body parts and was in rock hard condition, the latter asset being the one which tipped the scale in his favour today. Third was Westley Griffin (Sports Connexion, Ryton on Dunsmore) who was big and hard and posed well. Wes will take some beating when his legs catch up to the standard of his awesome upper body, and they will! Fourth and fifth were Jon Bibb and Steve Seager respectively.
|Mark Houghton, Gavin Gibson, Westley Griffin|
The final class of the day really set the audience off on a frenzy of vocal encouragement as another local man with an army of supporters hit the stage in the shape of the phenomenal Richard Gozdecki (Workout Mill, Leamington Spa). Richard was simply in a class of his own here with a near perfectly balanced 101 kilos of ripped muscle on his wide shouldered, narrow waisted frame which he showed off to the judges and audience with a flair and grace rarely seen on such a big man which earned him the mens best presentation award to go with his class win. Runner up was Daniel Awolola (Fitness First, Moston) who too was a big man in good shape. Daniel was good enough to win any heavyweight line-up, but today was just unlucky to come up against the best natural heavyweight this country has ever produced. Third spot was another man on the comeback trail, Alan Mack (Ruislip) who was returning to competition for the first time since 1999. Alan had muscle and shape to spare in the upper body, but without the time back training to match this with the leg development and overall hardness needed had to settle for third today. However, Alan is well and truly back in the game now and I predict a big future for both him and Daniel.
|Alan Mack, Richard Gozdecki, Daniel Awolola|
Concluding the days proceedings was the assembling of all 8 mens champions to fight it out for the overall title. Despite strong challenges from all class winners, most notably Mark Oakes, newly crowned heavyweight champion Richard Gozdecki was triumphant as he added the big sword, WNBF Pro card and Overall title to his haul of prizes for the day. Richard is truly a sight to behold, and thoroughly deserves his place on the Pro stage in November, and he enters the WNBF Pro World Championships as part of the UKDFBA team.
And thus ended the first contest which was a great success for the UKDFBA, its members, supporters and sponsors. The UK Championships will return bigger and better in 2012, and we look forward to seeing you there.