2015 USN Classic
Report by Lee Kemp
Photos courtesy of Julian Ward (www.julianward.org)
On a beautiful and rare sunny day in August, the Leamington Assembly was packed to the rafters with one of the loudest crowds of supporters ever seen at a UKDFBA contest as they roared on their friends and loved ones at the USN Classic.
In support of our chosen charity Help Harry Help Others the contest raised £650 for this superb cause by way of a donation from the proceeds of the contest itself, the posing workshop attended 2 weeks prior by some of the entrants and the generous products donated by our sponsors USN for sale on their stand which also featured an audience participation strength challenge. The feel good atmosphere of the contest which lasted from start to finish made it one of the best and most enjoyable in UKDFBA history and it was a pleasure to be part of the day and give something back. Of course, the main order of the day was the action onstage however and here’s how the contest went...
Beginners, Junior Men
This class was a close contest between two very different physiques, in the tall and classically shaped Danny Boyle (Atlas Gym, Wolverhampton) with a huge frame and heavily muscled arms and legs posed totally appropriately to the theme tune of the iconic film “Pumping Iron” and the more compact and conditioned Ronnie Cai (Future Fitness, Coventry) whose better balance was the deciding factor in just getting the win in this class ahead of a sporting and respectful Danny.
Beginners, Masters Men
Four men in 2 sub divisions with the win in the over 40 going to Adrian Hampton (Hamptons Gym, Devizes) with a tall, wide and rock hard physique with a great midsection and detailed midsection. As Adrian gains some size and fullness he will challenge hard in the open masters. Second was Robert Herd (Workout Mill, Leamington Spa) who stood onstage totally transformed from the man who began this journey almost 40 kilos heavier than he was today. Well balanced but needing both more size and condition to turn the tables today, Robert enjoyed every second onstage and was a testament to the dedication that had bought him to where he was today.
The over 50 subdivision was won by Danny Sloniowski (Damian Lees Tailored Fitness) with a heavily muscled and well-shaped upper body with a particularly impressive back. A little more in the legs and a touch harder overall and Danny too will stand in good stead in the open class. Second, and pushing Danny hard was Paul Blackwell (Coventry University Gym) who was lean and muscular with impressive pecs, shoulders and arms and entertaining classical posing. More size on his hard and separated legs will benefit him in future.
Beginners, Ladies Fit Body
A nip and tuck battle between eventual winner Lindsay Donaldson (Relentless Training Systems, Bath) and Jennie Elliot (EW Strength and Conditioning) took place next which was decided on a tie breaker from the judging table. Lindsay boasted great delts, quads, claves and arms and Jennie being very well shaped and lean with a great midsection. It could have gone either way but in the end a joyfully tearful Lindsay took the prize ahead of an equally happy Jennie. Jennie should focus on her lowerbody and Lindsay on developing more back and shoulder width and improving her tan for future contests but both looked great nonetheless.
Third place was taken by arguably the best developed and balanced athlete in the line-up, Charlie Knight (Liberty Gym, Nottingham) who needed to be tighter and perhaps a little more relaxed onstage to tip the tables her way today. Charlie too has a bright future.
Not breaking the top three today were Deisha Boyle (Damian Lees Tailored Fitness) and Sarah Whitefield (Iron Pit, Warrington) who both needed more muscle development to place higher today but were both in good shape and with solid stage presentation and both definitely suited to the Fit Body class.
Beginners, Ladies Bodybuilding
Tracey Beirne (EW Strength and Conditioning) was the sole entrant in this class, and opted to go onstage with the mens open class and had a ball, giving as good as she got in the line-up and pose down and presenting herself with confidence and pride. She had a well-balanced and muscled physique in good shape and would have been tough to beat at this level even if she’d had some opposition.
Beginners, Mens Bodybuilding
A sensational Solomon Onaola (Future Fitness, Coventry) stormed to victory in this class with a near perfectly balanced, wide, heavily muscled and hard conditioned physique which was presented in style and also bagged him the best bodybuilding poser award. Hard to fault and good enough to challenge at open level, Solomon was unstoppable today.
Second to fourth was a different story, with Tesfa Beckford (Premium Fitness, Birmingham), Shain Thompson (Atlas Gym, Wolverhampton) and Jon Simmons (Hercules Gym, Telford) battling almost inseparably. Shain was the biggest and best balanced of the three with huge legs when viewed from the side but needing to be considerably harder overall. Tesfa and Jon were polar opposites, with Tesfa having a huge and full upper body but lighter legs and Jon having a huge, rugged and ripped lower body but needing more up top to balance out his physique. In the end, Tesfa won the battle for runner up spot followed by Shain in Third and Jon just missing the trophies. All three guys looked superb though.
Also competing were a well-built Carl Parry (Dumbells and Dreams, Rhonda Cynon Taff) who has potential for future success when he gains overall size and hardness and gym buddies (both from DW Sports, Burton on Trent) Jimmy Paulauskas who was tall, wide and lean but not heavy enough for his frame to crack the trophies today and Ben Guest who was ripped and very well balanced with a great natural shape and structure but too in need of more mass to place higher in this class.
A standout winner in this class was Hayley Madigan (Fitness First, Portsmouth) who was akin to a living diagram for the criteria for the class. Shapely with the correct level of development, lean and balanced with perfect tan, presentation and attire she will be tough to beat at any level as an amateur. The battle for second and third was tight between eventual runner up Laurie Harris (Harpers Gym, Harpenden) and Tracy Ainley (Virgin Active, Rugby). Tracy was well muscled but a little too hard for the class and would have likely taken runner up spot and pushed the winner had she been softer, but was pipped for runner up spot by a more appropriately conditioned Laurie, who has good potential, just needing a little more shape and width in the back and a little more condition to challenge the winner.
Outside the top 3 were Lindsey Barley (24/7, Birmingham) who was balanced and well-presented but needed to be leaner and fit body winner and runner up Lindsey and Jennie who are both more suited to that class due to their heavier muscle development.
Mens Physique – Short
In a really tough class to judge, the clear winner was Dominic Hills (The Gym Group, Norwich) who had the “right” amount of muscle and condition for this class with a strong v-taper, prominent abdominals and confident presentation. Next came the judging dilemma of placing men who although were all impressive physically did not entirely fit the mould of the physique discipline. As a rule of thumb, an athlete who shows either the conditioning or size needed to do well in bodybuilding classes is considered “too much” for physique, and this class and the next boasted a number of such athletes. Second place was eventually awarded to Alex Lepic-Clark (RAF Conningsby) who was appropriately muscled and had the most aesthetic structure in the class but was conditioned too deeply for the criteria, showing deep cuts and striations in some body parts. Alex will be hard to beat if he comes in “lean” as opposed to “ripped”, and would make a superb bodybuilder in his current condition but with more size and thickness. Alex, the choice is yours! A close third was Charlie Brisbourne (Absalute Gym, Romford) who was in the correct condition with a lovely structure but his big and full muscled upper body with a particularly impressive thick back and chest makes him every bit the bodybuilder, and a switch to this class with a the required condition will see him doing some damage.
Not quite cracking the top three were Tom Kenny (Dinos, Solihull) who was where he needed to be in terms of overall size and headed for the trophies once he brings his back to be as impressive as his chest, shoulders and arms and leans out just a little more and Will Ricketts (The Gym, Streatley) who was big, ripped and balanced with very impressive quads, pecs and lats who would have been well into the mix had he competed in the bodybuilding division.
Mens Physique – Medium
With the benchmark now set by the first class, Kieran Kevan (Bodyshapers, Kettering) and Simon Gooding (70/30 Fitness, Carmarthen) battled it out here. Both well-muscled and lean with great midsections and presentation, Kieran took the class due to his absolutely beautiful shape and balance, with a tiny waist, wide shoulders and full pecs and delts. Simon needed more taper and overall aesthetic impact to take the win from Kieran, but was very impressive all the same. Third was Darren Marr (Deep Burn, Annan) who was wide shouldered, lean and shapely but lacked the muscle fullness of the two above.
Not placing were Leon Haq (Workout Mill, Leamington Spa) with a superb v-taper and nice shape but in need of a touch more muscle and condition, James Clark (Island Gym Canvey Island) who was well developed and lean and should now focus on more shoulder and back development, Amrish Rana (Hashtag Gym, Leicester) who was very aesthetic but just over the “line” in terms of size and condition with vascular arms and shoulders and detailed hamstrings and Sean Barber (Nuffield Health, Birmingham) who was arguably one of the best built men in the whole show, with mass to spare for his frame and deep, hard condition. Sean should definitely turn his attention to novice bodybuilding where he will be tough to beat, assuming his legs match his upper body.
Mens Physique, Tall
A titanic battle took hold next between Steven Wooten (Relentless Training Systems, Bath) and Jagdeep Sidhu (Future Fitness, Coventry) which ended in an extra round of comparisons and a tie breaker before a jubilant Jagdeep took the win with his wide framed and more aesthetically pleasing shape over Stevens slightly harder and thicker physique, particularly his striking full pecs and thick abdominals. There is nowhere these mean can really improve size wise without crossing the line into bodybuilding and were as good as physique athletes should get. To be ultra-critical, perhaps Steve could benefit from a little more v-taper and Jagdeep from a little more condition but in reality could have placed the other way round with no complaints and have potential to be the best two athletes in this class for some time. Great physiques. A clear third was Simon Dutton (Foundry Gym, Walsall) whose family pedigree as a second generation athlete shone through with a good structure, thick abs and pecs and good balance. More taper would have pushed him closer to the first two spots today but he was good enough to clearly secure the last trophy spot.
Out of the top three were Daniel Lane (Image Fitness, Northampton) who needed more development from the back, Richard Gunter (Impact PT, Luton) who too would benefit from more shoulder and back width and Robert Meiklem (Buffbodeez, Dumfries) who was improved from his showing at the Caledonian with a thicker, fuller upper body and is heading in the right direction to crack the placings.
Overall Mens Physique
The three class winners came together for round after round of comparisons as the judges scrutinised them from every angle and position they could. All three men were equally as good, if not very different visually. This meant there was little to choose between them with Dominic being tapered and athletic, Jagdeep being fuller and more pleasing to the eye but Kieran having the most optimal combination of both and the visual “wow factor” which swayed the judges his way, in a respectfully overjoyed display as he was awarded the overall trophy.
All three men are arguably International standard, and were all invited to compete at the WNBF International on October 11th, such was their quality.
And with that, the first USN Classic concluded. Huge thanks to all who made the event the electrifying affair that it was, and particularly USN and their representatives Rich Gozdecki and Max O’Connor who spearheaded the fundraising events on the day.
See you all in October, as we head into a huge weekend of bodybuilding which will no doubt raise the bar once again in the standard and excellence of UK Drug Free Bodybuilding. In the meantime, thanks again.