2017 Heart of England Championships
Photos courtesy of Sam Solarfly, Matt Marsh Photography
The final qualifier of the year was by far the biggest and busiest in our history, as a packed audience roared on the final crop of athletes looking to earnt their place at the UK Championships 3 weeks away. A fitting and sentimental ode to the progress of the association as in this very same building, the first ever UK Championship was held and only a fraction of the size of the magnificent event we witnessed today.
The results were as follows...
1 Daniel Walker (Newcastle Under Lyme). A comfortable winner in the opening class with too much size and condition to be rivalled by his opponents today. A little tighter for the finals, and Daniel will be one to watch.
2 Santiago Saldana (Westhill). Taking a very close decision to bag runner up spot by virtue of his superior condition, Santiago was incredible for only 15 years of age and as he adds size with time and maturity has a promising future.
3 Gjergji Dane (Solihull). Bigger and fuller than the USN Classic in June, but without the condition he showed on that day, Gjergji could turn things around on both of the men who placed above him today if he uses the time between this contest and the finals.
1 Ronny Cai (Coventry). Vastly improved from 2016 with a much thicker upper body to match his already impressive legs, Ronnie won this class at a canter today and will be one of the frontrunners at the finals if he can bring his conditioning in a little tighter.
2 Ben White (Stamford). An incredible physique for a man who only missed competing as a teen by a few days, Ben has a superb structure and shape which when he gains a little more size and maturity over the next few years could make him a Junior World Champion in waiting without doubt.
3 Daniel Williamson (Coventry). A world class upper body, but still desperately needing the legs to match, Daniel needs to put in some serious time under the squat bar now he prepares to leave the junior division at the end of the season. He was his best yet in terms of condition and posing, and clearly has these aspects of his prep nailed down. Great potential for future success if he puts the work in to bring his physique into balance.
4 Arshdeep Singh (Uxbridge). Making his bodybuilding debut after a move from Mens Physique, Arshdeep clearly took the right advice as he boasted an incredible structure and shape with ample muscle development and great proportions, presented with an impeccable stage presence and routine which rightly earned him the Best Poser award for the day. Arshdeep now has 3 weeks to bring as much condition in as he can and is capable of reversing todays decision if he can nail it.
5 Matt Berry (Solihull). A beast of a junior with heavy muscle all over and especially well developed legs. Matt needed to be considerably harder today to place higher but was impressive enough to fend off several other men in the fight for the last of the top 5 placings.
Also Competed: Thomas Tierney (Coventry), George Austeberry (Coventry), Billy Watson (Shaftesbury), Jordan Seward (Thatcham), John Tyler (Cardiff), James Allen (Bristol) and Taylor Neville (Gloucester). George, James and Jordan all in great condition but needing more size today and Thomas, Billy, John and Taylor needing to be harder.
1 Oli Perry (Leamington Spa). A stunning comeback appearance from Oli, in his first contest since his British Title win and World Championships top 3 placing some 14 years previously. Oli was too big and too conditioned to be rivalled today with enormous legs and arms in particular and served notice to his fellow finals contenders that he would be one to watch in 3 weeks time.
2 Michael Boyle (Bury). A touch harder than his Northern Counties win a few weeks previously, Mick is well on track to be beyond his best ever shape for the finals where he too will be well in the mix.
3 Lee Wilson (Bexhill). Another man on the comeback trail, Lee was every bit as impressive as ever with a balanced physique with a lovely shape and structure. Just short of the condition required to push the placings harder today, Lee will be one to watch when he hardens up a touch.
1 Rob Feesey (Axminster). In the best shape hed been in for a number of years and some way towards recapturing the form he displayed at his all-time best, natural bodybuilding legend Rob was a clear winner today. Apart from some issues with his tan that are easily resolved, there is little that Rob can do at this stage of his career to make him any more impressive as long as he keeps reproducing his rock hard condition.
2 Adrian Hampton (Devizes). As clear a runner up as Rob was winner, Adrian continues to get harder in the run up to the finals and if he hits peak condition there will be in the mix.
3 Paul Thorpe (Truro). Just edging the three man battle for the third spot, Paul was close to his best yet with ample muscle and a notable shape on his tall frame. Condition is the key for Paul, who could surprise himself if he unlocks the secrets of bringing himself in razor sharp.
4 Chris Walker (Downham Market). Improved drastically from the Southern Counties with harder condition and a fuller overall appearance, Chris in his late fifties and a survivor of major heart surgery is an inspiration and advert for the benefits of his chosen lifestyle. Its only a matter of time before he stands on that finals stage.
5 Alan Mannix (Nottingham). Making his UKDFBA debut, Alan is a huge man with a breath taking shape and some excellent standout body parts. Once he masters his conditioning, he will be one to watch.
Also Competed: Steven Smith (Coventry) and Ian Preston-Kline (Kettering) who both needed more condition to crack the placings.
1 Alexandra Dansco (Leeds). A runaway winner in this class with an incredible structure, ideally muscled and conditioned. It will take someone very impressive to keep Alexandra from placing high at the finals in this shape.
2 Jolanta Radko (Coventry). A neat and proportionate figure with good condition, Jolanta fought hard for her runner up spot and deserved invite to the finals.
3 Caroline Barthorpe (Lincoln). A little taller and longer limbed than a lot of the athletes in this class and appearing slightly lighter muscled as a result, Caroline had an incredible shape and was in optimal condition for the class and thoroughly deserved her trophy placing. With a little more size in the upper body, she is another athlete who could rise to the very top of the pile in future.
4 Camille Vinatier (Melton Mowbray). In her first contest and at only 18 years old, Camille came to the stage in excellent shape and presented herself with the flair of a way more experienced athlete. With time and training, she too could be one to watch.
5 Sadie Jones (Swadlincote). Another lady in great shape and well presented, Sadie is another who has great potential and would benefit from a little more upper body size.
Also Competed: Laura Hamilton-Potter (Glasgow), Emma Brown (Birmingham), Victoria Coppin (Beaconsfield), Karolina Borkowska (Leeds), Georgie Metherell (Kettering) and Sarah Ridgeway (Hope). Laura was just squeezed out of the top 5 on a tie breaker, and with a little more condition would have been pushing for top spot. There was very little separating the other ladies outside the placings, with all generally needing a little more condition to show themselves at their best.
Masters Ladies Figure
1 Georgina McCarthy (Coventry). Taking her first win in a quality class, Georgina boasted ideal levels of development and a pleasing structure which she presented competently. A little more condition for the finals should be her goal.
2 Alex Kokkonen (Coventry). A force at a number of qualifiers this season, Alex was close to another win today and just pipped by virtue of Georginas slightly more ideal level of muscle development. Relatively heavily muscled for a figure athlete, it would be interesting to see Alex in the condition she displayed earlier in the season competing as a Bodybuilder, where she is likely to enjoy equal success as she does in this discipline.
3 Alison Story (Southend). Alison fought her way into the top 3 with striking condition and well executed stage presentation, just pipping fourth placed Maria to the last trophy spot. A little more muscle in the upper body will help give Alison a more striking shape for future outings and assist her in climbing the placings.
4 Maria Giordmaina (Stratford). Structurally and developmentally ideal, with a great overall package and good presentation, Maria just needs to be a few percent harder to be virtually untouchable in this class.
5 Lisa Hendry (Horsham). Moving discipline from bikini after the Northern Counties was a great move for Lisa as she suits this discipline far better. Lisa was just unlucky to land in such a high quality line up today and should keep doing what shes doing for the placings to come.
Ladies Figure, Open
1 Alex Kokkonen (Coventry). Winning a razor tight decision in this class by as narrow a margin as she was pipped in the last, Alex showed again that she will be one to beat in any line up she enters.
2 Natalia Jaremko (Conwy). An absolutely superbly shaped athlete with lovely proportions and lean condition, Natalia being so much taller than the others in the class looked a little less full as a result but was a split decision away from the win nonetheless. Well-presented and professional looking onstage, she looked to be an athlete who would feature strongly at the finals.
3 Maria Giordmaina (Stratford). With her incredible structure and proportions, Maria deservedly took the final trophy spot in this class and was over the moon to do so.
4 Tracy Dell (Coventry). Lean, balanced and another with a good structure. Tracy boasted wide shoulders with great delt development and a muscular upper back which gave her a shape that would lend very well to bodybuilding, where she has potential to do incredibly well.
5 Harrii Norcott (Penzance). Lean and well balanced, Harri needed more size to push the higher placings today.
Also Competed: Jo Smith (Rugby) who had an incredible structure and shape and just needs to find a little more condition to break into the placings, Masters competitor Lisa Hendry and Bikini competitor Sarah Ridgeway.
1 Ben Guest (Burton on Trent). A worthy winner of a strong class, Ben was pushed hard by the runner up but had too much quality and condition in the end to be beaten today. A lovely upper body shape and detail all over, he just needs to bring up his lower body to match and he will challenge strongly in the open classes. Ben will be one to beat at the finals for sure.
2 Nahome Gebru (London). A little heavier than Ben but with a similar shape and a little more mass in the lower half, Nahome gave the winner a run for his money today and could have turned the tables if he was harder conditioned. A rematch worth looking forward to at the finals.
3 Bertrand Bwerudza (Slough). A striking, well balanced physique with plenty of dense muscle and decent condition, Bert deservedly took the third place spot ahead of some good opposition and too could challenge the placings at the finals if he hardens up.
4 Matthew Storey (Basildon). A tall guy with a big frame who looked imposing in this line up. Harder condition today would no doubt have seen him vault a few places and he could be in the mix at the finals if he digs deep. Great potential for the future as he fills that aforementioned frame with muscle.
5 Luke Johnson (Kent). Shredded with a capital S and well balanced, Luke fought off a couple of closely matched opponents to nick the final placing and has great potential if he keeps reproducing this condition as he too grows into that tall frame.
Also Competed: Adam Snedker (Northampton), Joe Ward (Merseyside), Liam Tatam (Aldershot), Krzystof Piechowiak (Bristol), Jale Rokodakunivosa (Yate), Gareth Williams (Stamford), Chris Goodwin (Glasgow) and Ben Batt (Wolverhampton). Jale, Chris and Ben all needed to be harder. The other men were all in good shape but were up against it in this top class line up and will benefit from a little more size.
Mens Physique - Short
1 Csaba Varga (Dartford). A runaway winner and possible top contender for the finals, Csaba was perfectly developed with a decent shape and superb presentation. If anything, a fraction too hard for the discipline but still good enough to take a clear win today.
2 Izaak Dunk (St Andrews). Vastly improved from his showing at the Southern and worthy of his finals invite, Izaak still needs more size long term but had tightened up a little and presented himself well.
3 Kevin Oo (Leeds). A superbly muscled and beautifully shaped upper body, Kevin should aim to tighten up for the finals where he could cause an upset if he does.
4 Rohan Verma (Windsor). As aesthetically near perfect as he was last season, but a little smaller and softer due to training for this contest while battling through injury. Rohan has incredible potential and once back on form will be challenging for that UK title again no doubt.
5 Simone Pigliapoco (London). Vastly improved from last year and overjoyed with his placing, Simone is making the right moves in fulfilling his potential and will be on that finals stage before he knows it.
Also Competed: Anthony Healy (Frome), Jasdeep Banghu (Uxbridge), Jay Leeson (Pitsea), Paulo De Oliveira (Norwich), Marc Thrasivoulou (Derby), Paul Cashmore (Birmingham), Aaron Clarke (Dunstable), Ben Maynard (Newmarket), Binyameen Khan (Wakefield) and Jordan Jackson (IOW). Anthony, Marc and Aaron were a little too muscular for the discipline and could enjoy great success if they switch to bodybuilding. The other men all need to keep pushing for a little more condition. Binyameen deserves a special mention, battling a disability which would leave most people unable to train, let alone build the superb upper body he boasted. An inspirational man.
Mens Physique - Tall
1 Richard Beard (Fradley). Well shaped and in good condition, Richard was clearly the best of the class today and thoroughly deserving of his win and finals invite. Richard is possibly a little heavily built for the discipline which could cost him placings in a tougher line up, but was the best of the group today and notably so.
2 Josef Vijay (Gloucester). An incredible physique in terms of structure and shape with ideal levels of muscle development. Josef saw off the rest of the class and challenged the winner hard despite being a tad short of the condition he needed to be in. If he, like others in the contest can bring it in a few percent for the finals he should feature heavily.
3 Bradley Collyer (Welwyn Garden City). Improved tenfold in conditioning since the Southern and deserving of a top three place and finals invite today, Bradley still has a few percent to go condition wise short term and shows great promise for the future if he adds muscle to his well-shaped frame.
4 Karzan Amin (Thatcham). Harder than the Southern and presented more optimally, Karzan looked great. His upper body shape and large muscle bellies give an indication that with a little more size, Karzan would be an incredible bodybuilding competitor if he has the legs to match. As he is very much in the no mans land between physique and bodybuilding size wise currently, this is the direction that he should now take. He will enjoy great success if he does.
5 Stephen Bowes (Dudley). In great shape and balanced in terms of his development, Stephen did not quite have the structure to overtake his more striking opposition but was over the moon with and thoroughly deserved his placing today.
Also Competed: Ross Digby (Market Harborough), Adrian Baczkowski (Slough), Elliott Rendell (Slough), Jamie Wright (Aylesbury), Alan Bryan (Gloucester), Joel Seagar (Bristol) and Martin Bugaj (London). Condition was the key for these men to have cracked the placings today.
1 Emily Terry (Carmarthen). In her first contest after a relatively short time training for bodybuilding, Emily presented herself in hard muscular condition with a pleasant balance which deservedly earned her a place at the finals. With more size over time she could be one to watch out for.
Open Men, Lightweight
1 Musa Dilek (Kingston). His best yet, with excellent conditioning and a nice balance. Musa is barely recognisable from the man who made his contest debut at last years USN Classic and with a little more muscle over time will be a threat at National level and beyond in this class.
2 Jordan Campbell (Redditch). A vastly improved Jordan was the heaviest muscled and best balanced guy in the class, but without the conditioning to topple the winner today. Jordan, still young enough to compete as a junior has incredible muscle fullness and shape and limitless potential.
3 Sandis Vidins (Coventry). An upper body to be envied with hard condition and posing that has improved drastically since his last outing, Sandis now needs to focus on bringing his legs up in size to match his top half. When he does, watch out!
4 Ben Guest (Burton on Trent). Novice winner Ben held his own admirably in this class and with the aforementioned improvements will be pushing for top slot.
5 Michael Kerry (Ipswich). Michael appeared bigger and more muscular than last years outings, with thick chest, arm and quad development. Frustratingly, he seemed to struggle showing off his seemingly incredible physique with some poorly executed poses which almost certainly cost him a couple of places and a trip to the finals. We can only judge it if we see it Mike, and we know youve got way more than youre showing us. Nail that posing and rocket up the rankings!
Also Competed: Junior James Allen and Novice Gareth Williams who both needed more size to challenge today.
Open Men, Middleweight
1 Gerard Pariseau (Motherwell). A clear and dominant win for Gerry, who had improved further from his comeback last year after a lengthy absence from the sport. Harder, better presented and with a deeper tan than last year, Gerry made it clear that he would be a threat for the overall today and a top contender for the UK title in the weeks to come.
2 Leon Bell (Ilkeston). A big, well balanced and well-structured athlete who provided a strong challenge for the winner but just lacked enough condition to take the title today. Leon made his UKDFBA debut in style and is yet another man for whom a bright future lies ahead.
3 Steve Hall (London). Barely recognisable from the young novice who had taken fourth place at the UK a few years earlier, Steve was bigger, more mature and in show stopping condition for his return and totally at home onstage in the open classes where he will feature strongly at the finals.
4 Alex Holloway (Northampton). Sharp, well-muscled and in proportion. Alex would have won most qualifiers in this shape and should not feel disheartened with todays finish. This truly was a line-up of National finals standard and Alex could well be pushing for a similar placing at the finals.
5 Alex Tsang (Nottingham). Potential with a capital P, with one of the proportionately heaviest muscled physiques in the contest in great balance. Some way off condition today, Alex needs to dig deep for the finals and if he does he could well be the dark horse of the day.
Also Competed: Tesfa Beckford (Birmingham) who was not at his best today but will be a huge threat to any title when he is, Elliot Rendell (Slough) who was more suited to this discipline and will challenge when he too finds his ideal condition. Matt Berry, Taylor Neville, Bert Berwudza and Ben Batt all needed to be harder to challenge in this class.
Open Men, Heavyweight
1 Daniel Mucha (Leeds). Daniel almost shook the stage boards as he stepped out to claim the class and titles today after a subsequent battle with Middleweight champ Gerry, with a monstrously muscled physique which was sufficiently conditioned to fend off all comers with relative comfort today. Daniel stamped his name firmly on the shortlist of those vying for that Overall win and Pro status in 3 weeks time. If he uses the time well and brings in the required last few percent condition wise it will take nothing short of a juggernaut to stop him based on todays showing.
2 Jonathan Mitchell (Aylesbury). Improved beyond recognition from his junior days with one of the most visually impressive physiques seen all year, Jon was aesthetically pleasing, hard, balanced and very professionally presented. At the lighter end of the weight class and rumoured to be dropping to middleweight for the finals, Jon could be another man fighting for that pro status if the extra drop in weight brings the condition one would imagine. Either way, this man is unlikely to remain in the amateur ranks for too long.
3 William Rooke (Coventry). His best yet, with conditioning and posing finesse never seen before. Despite a couple of physical flaws which will be hard for him to overcome, William is a workhorse of and athlete who will not give up and will continue to improve. If he carries on producing this form, it wont be long before Williams ambitions could come to fruition.
4 Henry Mensah-Brown (Coventry). A massive guy with good balance across his generally strong body parts, with perhaps only a little more size on the back needed to make him totally devoid of weak areas. Henry had clearly grafted since his runner up spot in the novice finals a few years back. An absolute tanning disaster on the day hampered Henry, virtually obscuring any definition he has achieved and making him very hard to judge accurately. However, he can put this behind him at the finals where if he displays himself to his full potential could be another man who leaps up the placings.
5 Adrian Hampton (Devizes). Grandmaster Adrian stood strong in this incredible class of monsters, giving as good as he got in the comparisons.
And with the aforementioned crowning of Overall Champion Daniel a few minutes later came a fitting end to the 2017 season heats, and an exciting last stop before what looks to be a finals of incredible standard if todays contenders are an indication.
Thank you to all who made the day such a success.