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2016 Southern Counties

Sunday 24th July. Camberley Theatre.
Photography courtesy of Bill Cullen & Caroline Morris, AllSports Photography. www.allsportsphotography.smugmug.com

Our debut event in the South of England was a memorable one, with 52 fantastic athletes taking the stage in front of a large and appreciative audience at the fantastic Camberley Theatre. Every line up was talent rich and a pleasure to judge. On with the results...

Teenage Men

1 – Arron Batchvarov (Camberley). Although alone in this class today, Arron was possibly the discovery of the show and would have almost certainly demolished all comers had there been more in the class. Massively muscled with a classic looking structure shown off with Golden Era-esque presentation which won him the best poser award, Arron is truly World class and will be almost impossible to beat with slightly harder conditioning and a deeper tan.

Junior Men

1 – Jack Julier (Harlow). Balanced and ripped, Jack did not quite match the other men in the top three for raw mass but was one of the most detailed men in the entire show with striated glutes and rock hard serratus and intercostals. Wide shouldered and well balanced, Jack will feature strongly at the finals.

2 – Jorge Darkadas (Greenwich). Making considerable gains since his last appearance, Jorge had huge arms and legs and a torso just a fraction behind. Well-presented and in good shape, he just lacked the conditioning needed to beat the winner today.

3 – Nathan Richardson (Wembley). A beast of a man, with wide sweeping thighs holding up a full bellied and aesthetic upper body, Nathan could not only have won this class by a margin if he was in true stage condition today but would have been a distinct threat in the overall. Alas, he was some way off in this respect but if he hits his stride by the finals it could be lights out in a big way.

4 – James Dodds (Bournemouth). A heavily muscled and well-proportioned upper body carried James into fourth place. A little more mass needed in the legs and a little more condition are now required to climb the placings.

5 – Jack Porter (Eastbourne). Jack was solidly built, well-proportioned and presented himself well. In any other Junior line up he’d have been in the mix and only the exceptional standard before us today kept him in fifth place.

Also competed – Edward Johnson (Farnborough), John Lovell (Wyton). Both good physiques that will benefit from a little more size and conditioning.

Masters Men

1 – Paul Harradine (Portsmouth). Considerably improved from his fifth place at last year’s UK Championships, Paul was bigger and fuller in the upper body with no loss of conditioning. His legs too have filled out although a tad softer than we have seen them but he will be well in the mix at the finals on this form.

2 – Adrian Hampton (Devizes). Tall, wide and heavily muscled with particularly thick delts and arms, Adrian did not reproduce the condition that took him to the runner up spot at last year’s UK and it cost him today. In that shape, he is another man with potential to be a front runner in October should he qualify later in the season.

3 – Peter Pretorius (Haywards Heath). Much improved in condition since his debut at the USN Classic in June, Peter just needs to nail the last few percent now to display his well balanced and symmetrical package to its best.

4 – Matthew Hall (Maidstone). A fantastic physique with no discernible weaknesses. More condition required to place higher, but tremendous potential if this is achieved. Matthew did himself proud.

Grandmasters Men

1 – Anwar Ghaith (Epsom). At an incredibly youthful looking 60 years of age, Anwar took a solid win in this class. Not the heaviest muscled of men, but with great condition and balance and the skin tightness of a man 20 years younger, Anwar looked great and thoroughly deserved his place in the finals.

2 – Stephen Slade (Dorchester). Stephen gave as good as he got in the comparisons with great arms and legs. His torso was not quite in balance and he could not match Anwar for condition but nevertheless he looked superb.

Ladies Bikini

1 – Kerry Sexton (Portsmouth). A clear win from Kerry and much sought after finals invitation after her runner up spot at the USN Classic. Kerry has an excellent shape and structure with the ideal level of muscle for the class and optimum conditioning, posing with class and confidence. All she needs to do for the finals is to look and perform exactly as she did today and she’ll be one of the front runners.

2 – Sarah Dennis (Waltham Abbey). In great shape, and good enough for second today, but perhaps a little too hard and muscular for this division, Sarah should consider a switch to figure where it is highly likely she will bag a finals invite.

3 – Emma Ross (Dorchester). Just pipping the other girls to the final trophy placing in a three way tussle which could have gone any way, Emma was tall and lean but lacked the muscle development and shape to place higher.

4 – Laura Banks (Portsmouth). Another lady who with a little more development has the potential to do very well as she boasts a great natural shape. Laura seemed totally at home on stage and was a pleasure to watch.

5 – Lauren Standbridge (Bury). In amazing shape for an athlete of only 18 years old, Lauren had improved considerably since the USN Classic in June. With a superb natural structure including wide shoulders and a tiny waist, Lauren will go far as she develops with time.

Novice Men

1 – Julian Chapman (Purley). Julian stormed to victory in this class with an overall package which oozed class. Balanced, well-muscled and in great condition and presented off with poise and precision, Julian was a standout winner. It is staggering to think that just 2 months prior, Julian had competed (and not placed due to his level of muscularity) as a Mens Physique competitor and his wise decision to switch discipline certainly paid off. Julian will be one to watch at the finals.

2 – Ed Skinner (Portsmouth). Taking a clear runner up spot was the huge and massively improved Ed whose condition, balance and presentation had progressed in leaps and bounds since his last outing. Ed, considerably taller than the others in the class showed a relative but understandable slight imbalance between his thick and wide upper body and his long legs which will take time to show the level of sweep and mass required to match what he has from the waist up. However, a little more conditioning on Ed today could well have seen the battle for first place being an almost impossible one to judge.

3 – Musa Dilek (Kingston). Shredded and vascular and much improved from his showing at the USN Classic, Musa took a clear third and a deserved finals invitation. Musa poses well, with an emphatic and appropriately aggressive style and really took the battle to the others in the class during the comparisons.

4 – Sam Cockle (Harlow). Well balanced and hard with great delts and quads, Sam was rock hard in the upper body and only a fraction less so in the lower. As he continues to add size to his vast frame he will no doubt climb the placings and eventually wreak havoc in the heavyweights.

5 – Tesfa Beckford (Birmingham). One of the best upper bodies of the contest with huge and full pecs, delts and arms. Tesfa still needs a little more lower body mass to balance himself out and was slightly off condition wise today. Had he have matched the condition he showed at his last contest he would have challenged the winner strongly today and I expect to see him qualify for the finals comfortably later in the year if this is addressed.

Also competed – Clint Purches (Leigh on Sea) who was ripped and ready and just missed a top 5 placing due to being slightly out massed by those above him, Alessandro Pacelli (London) who needed to be harder to make an impact today, Michael Kerry (Ipswich) who too needs to nail his condition in order to show his heavily muscled physique off at its best, Max Goldberg (Bracknell) who was lean and posed well but needs to focus on making his back as impressive as his front and Mark Lee (Cork) who was in superb condition and well balanced, but ideally needs more mass for his height to climb the rankings.

Mens Physique

1 – Simon Gooding (Vale of Glamorgan). In a really tough class to judge, Simon eventually rose to the top spot in a close call with runner up James and third placed Steven which any one of the three could have won after the judging panel had really put everyone through their paces to come to their decision. Simon carried the right amount of muscle for the class, with a distinctive shape and full pecs, prominent shoulders and a good midsection Simon can afford to get a touch harder for the finals.

2 – James Hart (Hitchin). Another man with the right level of muscle, matched with ideal conditioning for the class was James. Not quite as blessed shape wise as the winner but impressive nonetheless he was good enough to fend off third placed Steven and secure runner up spot.

3 – Steven Rowe (Cobham). Aesthetically great and also with the right level of conditioning, but slightly lighter muscled relatively due to his extra height and frame size was Steven. This would keep him in third today but nobody would have complained had the placings been reversed in all honesty. Keep going Steven, things could be very different at the finals.

4 – Tom Kenny (Solihull). After his not placing at the Caledonian a few weeks previously, Tom took his feedback and vowed to come to the stage improved today and that he did. Still stronger from the front than the back (which will take time and training to redress) with great pecs and abs and solid and competent presentation, Tom was deserving of his top 5 finish and finals invite. Just a few percent more condition now required for the finals will see Tom challenge for a placing there.

5 – Gareth Bicknell (Haverfordwest). Similar size wise to the runner up with a notable shape, Gareth could have climbed a few notches if he had been a little harder and possibly could have benefitted from a little more sheen to his physique onstage. Another man who will push for a placing at the final with these minor points addressed.

Also competed – Jamie Hill (Cobham) who just missed a top five slot with a neatly proportioned and lean physique which could take a little more muscle. Jack Porter (Eastbourne), Max Goldberg (Bracknell), Scott Exley (Bournemouth), Dwayne Peasah (Southampton), Thomas Edmunds (Stamford), Ashley Ling (Dartford), Alex Turner (Weston Super Mare) all of whom were too muscular for this discipline and should switch over to their respective bodybuilding classes. Scott in particular was hugely muscled, Dwayne deeply muscled with a thick torso and Ashley simply breath-taking with a magnificent shape and taper and clean separations between muscle groups. Oliver Ramage and Curtis Gayle (Portsmouth) both required more condition to make an impact and Gerald Barreda (Camberley) sits on the border in terms of muscularity but his shape may lend more to a bodybuilding division. This was a class which caused some contention in respect of some of the athletes who were left out of the top five, but the judges made entirely the right call in applying the criteria and those who were deemed more suitable for bodybuilding really should take the opportunity to do so and enjoy the success they are capable of.

Ladies Figure

1 – Tanya Staleva (Aldershot). Tanya was in fantastic shape and carried the perfect amount of muscle for the class. Well balanced with precise and eye-catching stage presentation, she fended off a strong challenge from the runner up and with slightly leaner condition will be one of the favourites headed into the final.

2 – Justalina Soverall (Ilford). Approaching the cusp of muscularity for this class in the upper body and lighter in the legs, Justalina was a little softer than the winner and needs to bring her condition in a touch between now and October. She boasted a lovely shape with great shoulders and midsection and was deserving of her finals invite.

3 – Marta Chlanova (Egham). Not quite developed enough to push the top two placings, but symmetrical and shapely, Marta took the final trophy slot and has great potential for further success as she grows a little more.

4 – Amanda Roberts (Swindon). Well balanced and neatly presented, Amanda made a great debut and held her own admirably in the class. More overall muscle is required to climb the placings and reach national level but I’m confident this will come with time.

Ladies Bodybuilding

1 – Danni Terresa (Exmouth). Massively muscled and lean with confident presentation and some standout body parts, Danni secured an emphatic win and sent a clear message to her fellow finalists that they would need to be on top form to turn away her challenge in October. A great prospect.

2 – Justalina Soverall (Ilford). With ample muscle in her upper body to be at home in this discipline, Justina has a strong future in Bodybuilding once her legs come up to match her upper body and her condition tightens. A worthy challenger for Danni today who didn’t allow the winner to have it all her own way by any means.

Mens Lightweight Bodybuilding

1 – Steven Cheng (London). With superb quads and delts and a striking front profile, Steven saw off the others in the class to bag the title much to his delight. Needing to be harder for the finals, Steven has the shape and structure to be a factor at that level once he dials it in.

2 – Mike Kerry (Ipswich). More at home in his weight division than in the open novice class, Michael has the muscle to hold his ground at national level but needs to master the art of contest conditioning before he secures his place there. Dig deep Michael, you won’t regret it.

3 – Edward Johnson (Farnborough). Edward and fourth placed Mark battled closely for the final trophy slot with the Farnborough man tipping the balance by virtue of his more aesthetic shape. As he matures and gains muscle, Edward will no doubt move up a class where he has potential for success.

4 – Mark Lee (Cork). As earlier, Mark was hard and balanced and posed well but too needs to add some beef and move up a division to have more of an impact in the open classes.

Mens Middleweight Bodybuilding

1 – Andrew Julier (Harlow). Ruggedly muscled and rock hard, Andrew ran out a comfortable winner in this class and could be a real threat at the finals. Slightly better developed from the waist up where he boasted deep abs and huge shoulders, long term Andrew should focus on bringing his legs into balance if possible to become near unbeatable.

2 – John Dasilva (Nottingham). Taking to the stage during a bout of illness which affected his condition a little, John still boasted a full muscled and shapely upper body and was deserving of runner up spot and finals berth. It will be interesting to see him on top form in October.

3 – Paul Harradine (Portsmouth). Not giving an inch in the open class was masters winner Paul who equalled the winner for condition but could not challenge for raw size. Still a relative novice, Paul is a pleasure to watch.

4 – Tesfa Beckford (Birmingham). Slightly drier than earlier but still a margin away from being truly contest ready today, Tesfa will wreak havoc when that last piece of the puzzle is in place.

5 – Peter Pretorius (Haywards Heath). Aesthetically spot on and really well balanced, Peter lacked the size and condition to push those above him today but was by no means out of place.

Mens Heavyweight Bodybuilding

1 - Stephen Walker (London). Stephen is a beast of a man with thick legs and pecs and ample shredded muscle all over to take a clear win here today and stake his claim as a finals threat. The best he’s been so far with a little more to come before October, Stephen was a true heavyweight.

2 – Ed Skinner (Portsmouth). With more than enough size and quality to hold his own in the open class, Ed really does have the potential to climb the top level of the sport in years to come.

3 – Adrian Hampton (Devizes). Again, not giving an inch in the comparisons was masters competitor Adrian who although wasn’t quite big or hard enough to topple the other men today but was impressive all the same.

Mens Bodybuilding Overall

As the class winners lined up, it was clear that this would be a three way battle between Julian, Andrew and Stephen. Julian at first glance was the most eye-catching of the three in terms of shape but on comparison didn’t quite have the maturity of the other two men. Although Andrew was slightly harder, he had no answer in the end for the overwhelming mass of Heavyweight Winner Stephen Walker who was respectfully jubilant when he was announced Overall Southern Counties Champion for 2016.

And at this, our debut contest in the South of England was done and dusted with a crop of fantastic athletes securing qualification rights to the finals. Huge thanks to everyone who made the contest possible.

Lee Kemp.