BNBF Britain 2009
BNBF British Championships 2009
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Report by David Kaye
‘10 years In the Making’
In bodybuilding and in life, there exists a saying, ‘that only the strongest and fittest will survive’. Perhaps though, this Darwinian principle holds a special significance as the BNBF gathers its forces to host its 10th Annual British Championships, and most spectacular to date. The magnificent S.E.C.C in Glasgow would host these Championships, and bear witness to the battle of an incredible 94 competitors – a fitting tribute to the evolutionary growth of the Premier Natural Federation in Britain. Perhaps too, this apt saying is a testament to the struggle of the competitive bodybuilder, whose long and gruelling path to these British Championships will have undoubtedly provided none truer a test of character to date.
These Championships, more so than any before, are littered with decoration – Pro Cards aplenty are on offer to celebrate a decade of success and to commemorate this milestone achievement of the BNBF. Throughout the season, winners have been made, reputations forged and predictions of success echoed in gym corners and internet forums across the country. In truth, only one question really remained - who would emerge victorious and earn that elusive place on the British team bound for Washington?
Faced with the unenviable task of placing these 94 competitors were our panel of judges: Pro World Champion, Nigel Davis, BNBF Pro’s David Hannah and Raymond James, BNBF Pro’s Jane Carter, Rachel Hayes and Annabel Ottey, BNBF British Champions David Kaye and Glen Danbury and finally with BNBF Pro Kerry Napier assuming the omnipotent mantle of Head Judge. The role of M.C for the evening show was shared this year, and shared well, between BNBF stalwart Crow Dillon-Parkin and Miss BNBF herself, Vicky McCann.
It was only fitting that the show was opened, as it was 10 seasons ago, with a perfectly choreographed guest routine by BNBF Couples Champions, Rachel Hayes and John Clark. With matching costumes and foot work to the letter, Rachel and John paraded two massive Union Jack flags on stage to a wave of rapturous applause. Few could argue that with that very image, Rachel and John captured the essence of what the BNBF is all about and what seemingly unimaginable heights it has achieved as a federation.
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The 2009 BNBF British Championships commenced with the 10 strong Novice class, and as tradition would dictate, presented the judges with a unique and varied mix of physiques.
In 1st place was a delighted Samuel Fomba. Samuel served notice to his fellow Novice competitors and delivered the lesson that a British Final demands exclusively an ‘A-Game’ physique. Significantly improved from the qualifier, Samuel won this class convincingly with the finest blend of shape, muscularity and condition on stage. Samuel’s posing was of novice standard at times and quite frustratingly often failed to display the condition present in his legs. Nevertheless, a fine performance and deserved win for Samuel.
Taking 2nd place was Northern winner Damien Lees. In contrast to Samuel, Damien presented his physique to the fullest and gave the judges ample opportunity to judge him properly. Damien was arguably the best conditioned from head to toe and when combined with great balance, secured him a 2nd place finish. This is bodybuilding however, and when positioned next to Samuel, just lost out on muscular fullness today.
Finishing in 3rd place was Welsh champion, Paul Bamber. Showcasing fine balance, muscular development, solid conditioning and arguably the best back on stage, Paul was always in the running for top honours today. Paul was a little slow to make an impact during pre-judging , and must aim to make himself noticed more quickly in future. I would argue that Paul’s condition was marginally down on the rock hard physique he presented in Wales, but nonetheless a great debut year.
In 4th place was Shane Raymond. The Central novice and overall champion was undoubtedly the hot favourite for top honours leading up to the championships. On this day, however, Shane was unable to bring the destructive package to Glasgow which was on display at the qualifier. Massively muscled form head to toe, Shane caught the judges’ eye with his superb symmetry, but unfortunately struggled in the muscularity round due to poorer conditioning in comparison to those competitors placed above him. Shane was understandably disappointed with his placing, but should not be disheartened as his future in competitive bodybuilding is very bright indeed.
Snatching 5th place was Mildenhall qualifier, Kyle Riechert. Kyle presented an extremely well balanced and aesthetic physique today. His chest and abdominals were particularly impressive and scored well in the symmetry round. At this level, Kyle’s conditioning was a little soft, and consequently struggled to place any higher. Kyle should also endeavour to improve on his presentation, in particular his posing , whilst he also struggled with a poor tan.
Rounding off 6th place was a delighted David Marshall. David was in great shape for this show, this conditioning most noticeable in his legs which were hard and detailed. His hamstrings in particular were among the best of the entire day! David’s compulsory posing did get a little untidy at times and subsequently was unable to display his rugged, muscular physique to its fullest. Nevertheless, an improved package from David and rounded off an impressive debut year.
Also competing: Richard Mieklejohn, David Coates, Robert Darvill, Ryan Harrison.
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Now in its 3rd year of existence, the teen class provides newcomers to the sport with a chance to compete outright in a class of their own, as opposed to jumping headlong into the junior class and its under 23 age limit. Only 5 athletes contested the class today, yet the standard alone justified the addition of the class to the programme.
In 1st place was Stephen Anglo who dominated this class as soon as he walked on stage. Without question, Stephen is the biggest teen I have ever seen and on this occasion was unparalleled in terms of muscular size and fullness. Stephen’s chest and delts in particular were incredibly well developed for someone so young and perhaps were the envy of many a seasoned competitor! If I were to be critical, Stephen’s legs were a little slight in comparison and also lacked the detail showcased in his upper half. Nevertheless, it’s hard to take much away from such an imposing physique.
A well deserved 2nd place was awarded to Tom Hoesli. Tom, without doubt, showcased the best conditioning of the class and presented his physique superbly. The degree of muscle separation in his back and legs was supreme for someone of his youth and if it were not for the gigantic structure of Stephen Anglo, would have made a very worthy British Teen Champion indeed. A fantastic debut year for Tom and great potential.
Taking 3rd place was Jake Griffiths. Jake boasts a great natural shape for someone so young – broad, capped delts tapering down to a neat waist, all set upon thick, sweeping quads. On this occasion, Jake just did not have the sheer size to challenge the winner or indeed the fabulous conditioning of Tom Hoseli. I feel Jake also suffered from a pale tan, particularly during pre-judging. In the end, Jake took home a well earned 3rd place and has a promising future in natural bodybuilding ahead of him.
In 4th place was a greatly improved Amrit Jhitta. Amrit, like those ahead of him, has a great natural shape and an excellent foundation upon which to build a quality physique. Amrit’s legs are especially impressive, showcasing sweeping quads and thick hamstrings rarely seen in competitors of his age group. Amrit’s downfall today was his condition which, despite being tremendously superior to his qualification outing, is still required to be tighter in the future. Well done Amrit.
Finishing off in 5th place was Robert Tichard. Robert found himself in a very competitive class today and did not quite have the muscle mass or level of conditioning required to place higher. Robert does own a fabulous set of abdominals and his side chest pose was among the best in the class. Robert’s aim for the future should be to build more upper body width and improve on his legs. Well done on your first British final Robert.
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Since the extension of the age limit of the Junior category to under 23, the class can no longer be seen as merely a ‘stepping stone’ to the senior classes, but rather a hotly contested competition in its own right. Eleven junior competitors would take to the stage at these championships in a class that rarely fails to produce outstanding physiques.
Taking home the 1st place trophy and repeating his 2007 win was Andrew ‘Mushy’ Chappell. If they say that defeats - not wins - reveal true character, then Andrew Chappell is a true champion. Andrew sought vindication for his narrow defeat at last year’s championships by bringing an immense package to the stage this year and won the class in convincing fashion. Thickly muscled from head to toe, with great balance, granite conditioning and outright ridiculous vascularity, Andrew dominated this class from the outset and deservedly walked away the victor.
In 2nd place was William Morgan. William arrived in Glasgow in superb shape, thickly muscled, full and in rock hard condition. William’s torso is especially impressive with an incredibly full chest and shoulders. William lost out to Andrew today on balance, especially form the back where he was exposed as being a little weak in comparison. In addition, William’s posing let him down at times as he failed to display his superb level of conditioning. Nevertheless, an improvement from the qualifier and a great result for William.
Taking 3rd place was Pete Bullard. Pete was arguably the most aesthetic competitor in the class and with his superb structure, placed highly in the symmetry round. Pete’s legs in particular are superb, large, sweeping and separated. Pete’s condition was marginally down on that of his qualifier, and subsequently struggled to hold off the stronger finishing William Morgan for 2nd place. All in all, a great result for Pete in an outstanding junior class.
In 4th place was Scottish champion, Gordon Greenhorn. Gordon is another thickly muscle junior, with strong legs, superb overall balance and no structural weaknesses. In comparison to the physique Gordon showcased at the Scottish qualifier, however, his condition was slightly off, and seemed to be holding a slight film of water across his entire physique, despite his apparent condition. In spite of this, Gordon was clear in 4th place and rounded off a very successful competitive year indeed.
Taking home 5th place was Stephen Burke. An improved presentation from Stephen today, showcasing excellent balance, particularly from front to back which is often the weakness of junior competitors. Stephen is adequately muscle all over, with tremendous triceps and powerful legs. Condition on the day was still Stephen’s downfall, and prevented him from placing amongst the top 4 competitors.
Rounding off 6th place was Ben Clarke. The Central junior champion fell a little short of the hard, vascular physique he displayed earlier this year. Ben has a tremendous upper body, thickly developed and tapered, yet just did not have the level of conditioning which made him a stand out at the qualifier. Ben should take heart from his year’s performances, re-group, and come back stronger next year with the physique we all know he has.
Also competing: Anthony Burns, Lee Frapple, Jason Rose, Gordon Hunter, David Fuge.
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From the youth and vitality of the junior classes, attentions now moved to the experience of the Master’s classes. The first class to take to the stage were the evergreen Over 60’s, who are a living tribute to the benefits of the natural bodybuilding lifestyle.
In 1st place was Ronnie ‘the diamond’ Cooney. As seems to be the norm for Ronnie in recent years, he arrived at these championships in superb condition; razor sharp from every angle, Ronnie – I don’t know how you do it! On this day, Ronnie had the best blend of muscular balance and condition and rightfully took home the British title. It goes without saying that Ronnie’s free-posing routine was a rare treat, seamlessly blending the image of an old, decrepit man on a zimmer frame with the moon walking finesse of Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’! Ronnie deservedly took home the ‘Best Presentation’ Award.
In 2nd place was the ‘Grandfather’ of natural bodybuilding, and Olympia Ultra-Masters champion, Eric Dowey. At 73 years young, Eric showed no signs of slowing down. Showcasing fine balance, muscularity and condition, Eric was a clear 2nd place finisher. Eric could certainly teach these young juniors a thing or two about posing, in particular a crazy most muscular pose which displayed his trained physique off to the fullest. Well done, Eric.
In 3rd place was former British champion, David Brice. David, like those competitors above him, had arrived at these championships in great condition. David has a very impressive back, wide with plenty of fine detail to spare. David’s presentation was also immaculate, from his compulsory posing to his tan. Well done, David.
Taking 4th place was BNBF regular Ted Clifton. A familiar face on the BNBF circuit, Ted always seems to make the most of his time on stage and this year would be no exception. Ted was in far batter condition compared to his Scottish outing and as always, entertained the audience with his free-posing routine. Good job, Ted.
In 5th place was John Oxford. John, like Ted, had improved significantly from the Scottish qualifier. John has tremendously detailed legs and superb biceps, and in addition had brought superior conditioning to these championships. In this company, however, John just lacked the muscular size to crack the higher places.
Rounding off 6th place was a greatly improved Monty Meredith. Monty has a rugged muscular physique, with no shortage of muscle. On this day, Monty’s condition was still too soft to challenge those above him, despite being far better than at his qualifier. Come on Monty, you know what to do now! Monty showcased his physique superbly at the evening show with a polished free-posing routine.
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In 1st place was defending champion Martin Duckett. Muscular, rock hard and detailed, Martin defended his British crown convincingly. If anyone could be classed as the epitome of a ‘rugged’ physique, it would be Martin – huge sweeping legs and an incredibly dense back being just a few of his attributes. If I were to be critical, his chest was relatively weak in comparison and his compulsory posing could have been a little tighter. Nevertheless, a dominant performance.
In 2nd place was Kevin Powell. In a word, Kevin was shredded! Absolutely peeled from every angle and bone dry, Kevin sliced and diced his way to a clear 2nd place finish. On this occasion, Kevin just couldn’t quite handle the rugged mass presented from Martin Duckett, but held his own with fine balance and said ‘freaky’ condition.
Taking 3rd place was 2006 Champion, Rick Waters. Rick, as usual, gave a fine account of himself on stage at this year’s championships. Great arms with peaked biceps flared out from an impressive and full torso, all sat upon finely detailed quads. Rick has been slightly sharper in the past and in today’s competitive company needed superior conditioning to crack the top two.
In 4th place was Central Champion, Mario Watts. Hugely muscled, yet with an aesthetic shape, Mario was on excellent form at these championships. Boasting the best chest development of the class, and an immaculate tan, Mario was a little unlucky not to crack the top 3 today. In this company, his condition needed to be sharper to challenge for top honours and such is the depth and quality of competitors at the Britain, Mario had to settle for a very respectable 4th place.
In 5th place was ‘Mr Boombastic’ himself, Denton Wilson. A perennial fan favourite, Denton never fails to entertain when he takes to the stage. Denton showcased a finely balanced and aesthetic shape, with superbly full chest and back development and of course treated the audience to a memorable free-posing routine. Denton will admit that his condition has been harder in the past and this cost him a higher placing, when competing in such company.
Rounding off the top 6 was George ‘the razor’ Kerr. George never fails to impress me, competing year upon year with constant improvements. George showcased great shape and one of the widest backs on stage, and as usual delivered his razor like conditioning. George will be the first to admit he was a little flat during pre-judging but certainly rectified this for the evening show, all in time for his now legendary headstand!
Also competing: William Kirk, Tommy Campion.
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In 1st place was Roger Waters. Roger has essentially ‘owned’ the Masters class in recent years, this win representing his 3rd victory in as many years. Roger dominated this class from the outset with his combination of unparalleled muscularity and frankly crazy conditioning. Saying that, I feel Roger was marginally harder at last year’s finals, yet demonstrated that even on less than 100 percent form is still formidable enough a competitor to take the class convincingly.
In 2nd place was Brian Skeete who was one of the few competitors who had improved from the qualifier. Brian has fabulous symmetry, seamlessly blending his wide shoulders and back with a tight mid-section, all set upon muscular, sweeping quads. What impressed me most with Brian was his improvement in condition, which whilst still leaving room for improvement, was enough to snatch 2nd place when combined with such a great shape.
In 3rd place, for the second year running, was Southern Champion Andy Hallahan. Andy has a dense physique with no shortage of muscle or vascularity. His condition was solid, although not quite paralleled with the incredible conditioning he displayed in winning the Southern title. As usual, Andy delivered a powerful and well choreographed free-posing routine for the audience to enjoy during the evening show. Well done on a top 3 finish, Andy.
Taking 4th place was a best ever Pete Sampson. The Northern masters champion was impressive today, showcasing great conditioning, striated chest and shoulders and knock-out poses from the rear. I felt Pete was a little unlucky not to crack the top 3, but such is the harsh nature of competition at Britain level, had to settle for a well deserved 4th place. Not to be outdone, Pete delivered a very entertaining free-posing routine for the audience’s pleasure.
In 5th place was Lazaro Almenares. The Central Champion arrived in Glasgow in great condition as always. Lazaro has a very well balanced physique, with an incredibly wide back, and, as per usual entertained the crowd from the moment he stepped foot on stage. Lazaro does have a tendency to let his legs go on stage at times and must focus on keeping his posing tighter in the future.
Rounding off the 6th place spot was Mark Houghton. Mark has an excellent ‘X-frame’ structure and subsequently placed well in the symmetry round. On this day however, Mark’s condition was not quite as tight as it has been in the past and faded as the muscularity rounds progressed. On a positive note, Mark’s posing was precise and accurate throughout the day and delivered a very well choreographed free-posing routine at night for the Glasgow crown to enjoy.
Also competing: Jim Blyth, James Clacher, Mike Dancer, Lee Ottey, Jonathan Travers, Tony Wilson.
Special Guest Star – Vicky McCann
The BNBF Britain has always demanded sensational guest stars. Only the best of the best are deemed to be worthy of guest status at these championships: Nigel Davis, Rob Hope, Ben Tennesson, to name but a few. Yet essentially, perhaps there was no more fitting a choice for the federation’s 10th annual championships than the star who made it all possible, the driving force behind it all – Pro Miss Universe, Vicky McCann. At 6 weeks out from the Pro-World Championships in Washington, Vicky presented a physique of such quality muscle, symmetry and maturity that is rarely seen on a British stage. Vicky’s physique is a testament to years of dedication and dispels any such myth that a natural female can’t build dense, thick muscle or indeed blend that perfectly with such symmetry, grace and poise. Top that off with one of the most beautifully choreographed posing routines I have ever seen and you have a sensational guest star. To put it simply, Vicky is world class.
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For the 2nd year now, an elusive pro-card is on offer to the winner of the Figure class. Throughout the season’s qualifiers, this class has been growing in depth and stature, and finally, at these championships, 11 competitors would challenge for that top spot.
In 1st place was 2007 champion, Jenny Garside. Speculation had slowly been emerging about the possible return of Jenny to the British stage, and come show day, she certainly proved that she is a true champion. Jenny looked the winner as soon as she stepped onstage and had the best blend of muscle, condition and poise. Jenny’s stage presence is almost tangible, and this is only further complemented by her beautiful presentation. I do think Jenny was a little off her best during pre-judging, but quickly rectified this for the evening show, proving to be enough to take home 1st place and the honour of Professional status.
In a close 2nd was Northern champion, Claire Harper. Claire is another competitor with superb poise, stage presence and immaculate presentation. Claire seems to steal the show when on stage, and showcases a very polished physique with beautiful tone, classical lines and a TINY waist with jaw-dropping abs, all topped off with an infectious smile. Claire simply lost out to Jenny today on muscle quality, especially across the legs and back, but nonetheless a fantastic performance.
Taking home 3rd place was Hannah Bryant. Hannah was very similar to Claire in that she was not just in great condition, but had an altogether polished physique and displayed this with immaculate presentation. Hannah’s quads in particular were among the most detailed in the class which proved to be very useful in the newly formed ‘abs & thigh’ round. In the end, Hannah, like Claire, just lacked the muscle quality of the winner and took home a well deserved 3rd place, along with the ‘Best presentation Award’.
Grabbing the 4th spot was Welsh champion, Joanne Stanger. Joanne has a very well balanced physique, with great abdominals and beautiful shape to her legs, and needless to say placed well in the abs and thigh round. Whilst Joanne was tight all over, I feel she was in better condition at the qualifier which may have prevented her from challenging the top 3 today.
In 5th place was Trudy Woods. Another competitor who makes the most of immaculate presentation, beautiful lines and superb poise, this was the best I’ve seen Trudy in competition. Trudy showcases arguably the best V-Taper in the class, with nicely capped delts and a wide, flaring back, all flowing down to a tight mid section. Trudy still needs to sharpen those legs further to balance out her physique, but I can’t take much away from an otherwise great performance.
Rounding off the top 6 places was KT Coates. Anyone following KT’s journal on the BNBF Forum knows how special an achievement this was for KT. I hope she doesn’t mind me repeating this, but she qualified at the Central having given birth only 7 weeks prior, and continued to make great improvements towards this year’s finals. KT brought a tighter overall package to the stage and as usual, wowed the audience with her fabulous T-Walk and stunning stage presence. In addition, for what it’s worth, had my vote for the ‘Best Presentation’ Award.
Tied for 6th place with KT Coates, was Ingrid Charvet. Great shape and balance from Ingrid, who perhaps was one of the few competitors in this line up with the quality of muscle to rival the winner. On this occasion though, Ingrid was just lacking the necessary condition to expose such beautiful shape and subsequently had to settle for a 6th place finish.
Also competing: Reem Bareeq, Kim Byrne, Deb Francis, Christina Gosman.
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An incredible contest, this class had to be the highlight of these championships. A 10 strong lightweight class that was so packed with depth and quality gave the Glasgow audience it a real to reason celebrate. In the end, there can only be one winner, yet any of the top 5 competitors would be a worthy British Champion on any given day.
Taking home 1st place, and new professional status, was defending champion Barry Cunliffe. If expressions tell a story, then one only had to look at the face of Barry Cunliffe to recognise what this victory meant to him. It’s fair to say that Barry had come to ‘own’ the lightweight class in recent years, yet with the offer of Pro-status now so tangible, perhaps this was the hardest fought victory of them all. Barry had left no stone unturned during his preparation and walked on stage at these championships in best-ever shape. Thickly muscled, symmetrical and beyond granite hard, Barry rightfully earned his win, and with that, the elusive pro-card.
In a close 2nd was 2008 Junior Champion, Robert Waterhouse. No one had anticipated that Robert would drop down to lightweight for these championships, except Robert. He had devised a strategy to win, which very nearly paid off. Showcasing incredible condition, it’s unlikely that Robert could have done any more in preparation for this show. His quads were the most finely detailed of the entire day, and although unable to match Barry for upper body density, found his way around this with his superior symmetry. Alas, this was not quite enough to topple the reigning champion, and Robert accepted his runner-up trophy.
Taking a well earned 3rd place was Richard Grattan. Richard, like those athletes above him, was in incredible condition. It’s not often one can say that a competitor has done absolutely everything they possibly can to win, but I truly believe that this was the case with Richard. His chest and calves were particular stand outs. One this day, Richard had just come up against two outstanding competitors and could not compete with the muscular density of Barry or the clean symmetry of Robert. An outstanding performance nevertheless.
In a close 4th was Scottish Champion, Peter MacDougall. This class was absolutely packed with talent! It seems clichéd, but Peter was truly another athlete who had arrived at this year’s finals in lifetime best shape. Following his Scottish win, Peter had come back to Glasgow bigger, harder and more shapely than ever before. I distinctly remember commenting on quality of his side poses and in particular his legs which were arguably the most finely detailed in the entire show. Again, in this quality of line up, not everyone can win, and on this occasion Peter graciously accepted his 4th place finish.
In 5th place was George Fereos. George was significantly improved from the qualifier, rock hard, full and on top of his game. I am repeating myself?! On this day, places must be allocated and it seems a shame that an athlete in such tremendous shape should have to settle for 5th. Nevertheless, George should be heartened from this performance, his physique etched with fine detail, showcasing great abs and razor sharp quads. George was also in the running for the ‘best presentation’ award with a finely choreographed routine.
Rounding off the top 6 was Chris Redmond. Chris was a great shape at these championships, his condition granite hard with impressive vascularity. His shoulders were a particular stand out to me, as were his legs. In the end, Chris was just beaten today by more muscular opponents, and paid the price for being a little flat for most of the day, most notably in his chest. Nevertheless, a fine performance from Chris.
Also competing: Simon Stevens, Clive West, Tim Sharp, Andy Williams.
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A five strong Middleweight class turned into six with the addition of one lightweight competitor who didn’t make the weight limit. Returning to the stage after a successful ‘clean sweep’ at the Northern qualifier was middleweight powerhouse, Daz Cooper, with the surprise and most welcome addition of 2006 British Lightweight Champion , Mick Battersby. One again, a coveted pro-Card beckoned for one deserving champion.
Taking home the 1st place trophy, Middleweight crown and elusive pro status was Daz Cooper. There has been something intangible in the air all season that this would be Daz Cooper’s year for glory. Perhaps this victory seems only fitting, considering he has been on the cusp of pro status for many years now, often losing out by the narrowest of margins to eventual overall winners. Irrelevant of prophecy, Daz epitomises the notion of perseverance, leaving nothing to chance as he walked on stage in typical granite condition. Mention the name Daz Cooper, and those hardcore legs spring to mind – brutally massive, rock hard and just plain crazy, Daz deservedly took home the ’Best Wheels’ Award. With that, Daz topped off a convincing win and new pro status with an immense free-posing routine.
Taking a clear 2nd place was Central winner, Tshala Kabala. Tahala has been on impressive form all season, and held this momentum going into these championships. Tshala owns a supreme natural structure with superb back width, a full chest, capped delts all tapering down to a neat midsection. If I were to be picky, his conditioning was slightly down on the ultimate ‘crispness’ of his Central showing, yet I will confess the difference was only marginal as the level of conditioning across his entire physique was still worthy of mention. Tshala’s legs are still playing catch up to his incredible upper half, yet were dry, crisp and deeply separated, placed next to Daz Cooper’s though, were exposed as being a little slight. All in all, a sound performance, Tshala.
Grabbing the 3rd spot was Craig Chadwick. How Craig managed to qualify as a lightweight I will never know as he looked very much a competitive middleweight today, with plenty of size to contest this class. Craig presented a nicely balance physique, with phenomenal abs, clean splitting quad detail and granite conditioning. This was an excellent result for Craig who had obviously reaped the benefits of hard graft since the qualifier. Well done, Craig.
In 4th place was Southern Overall champion, Paul Amos. Paul paid the price today for not quite being able to match the incredible conditioning he displayed in winning the Southern title earlier this year. Paul does have an impressive torso, complete with statue like chest and abdominal configuration. Paul doesn’t quite have the flaring shape of some of the physique ahead of him, therefore is reliant on top class conditioning to secure a top placing. Nevertheless, a great competitive year for Paul.
In 5th place was Mick Battersby. The former British Lightweight Champion was a bit of an enigma in the lead up to these championships. Would he or wouldn’t he be in the destructive shape of 2006? Alas, as the contest unravelled, it was apparent that Mick just wasn’t in the phenomenal condition that made him such a dominant force a few years ago. His shape and muscle maturity is tremendous, perhaps the only other competitor in the line up with the mass required to topple Daz Cooper, yet when positioned next to such an athlete was exposed as being too soft. A great sportsman, Mick graciously accepted his 5th place finish and gave the Glasgow crowd another glimpse of that legendary most muscular!
Rounding off the places in 6th was Peter Batai. Peter was another competitor who seemed to have it all in terms of shape, yet in such powerful company, fell short of the mark on conditioning. Peter has a fabulous structure, blessed with tremendous back width and sweeping quads, all uniting together to create beautiful symmetry. If Peter can just tighten that condition further will be a formidable middleweight competitor in future competitions.
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The penultimate class of the day saw the return of defending champion, Marius Alcide and the emergence of new heavyweight force and Scottish Overall champion, David Iroegbu. With another sought after pro-card on the line, the battle of the big men was sure to be one of epic proportions.
In 1st place and winning professional status was David Iroegbu. As anticipated, the heavyweight battle essentially came down to a 2 horse race, with David taking the win, and the spoils, over Marius. A formidable sight, David combines massive muscular development with first class symmetry and stage presence. David’s physique is armoured with thick, dense mass and owns possibly the most enormous most muscular pose of the entire show!
In 2nd was indeed Marius Alcide. The defending Champion couldn’t quite muster enough to retain his title this year against the momentum of David Iroegbu. Marius is such a quality athlete and really does seem to have it all; huge shoulder width, a barn door back, tapering to a neat mid-section and owner of arguably the best legs in natural bodybuilding, well hamstrings at least. Marius’ downfall today was condition, pure and simple, and had to accept that irrelevant of his imposing structure, was just not as tight as David today.
Grabbing the 3rd spot was Sotonye Dukubo. A great finish to what has been a great competitive year for Sotonye. This was one competitor who had obviously paid attention to advice given following his qualifying attempt, and with that brought a significantly improved package to these championships. Sotonye has phenomenal potential, a huge, muscular and dense upper body which tapers down to a tidy, compact waist. Sotonye once had weaker legs – not anymore, as he graced the stage with massive, and greatly improved, sweeping quads. Sotonye, like those men above him could have brought tighter conditioning to these finals, but nevertheless a sound performance.
In 4th place was Tim Griffin. Tim was undoubtedly the best conditioned of the heavyweights. His physique was deeply etched with fine detail from head to toe and presented an altogether superbly balanced package. Tim’s legs were perhaps his best asset on this day and were littered with deep separation from every angle. Nevertheless, this is the heavyweight division - the domain of the big men – and on this occasion, Tim just could not compete with the sheer mass of those competitors placed above him.
Rounding off this class in 5th place was McKinley Greer. Another of our Mildenhall qualifiers, McKinley perhaps did not have the best of preparation in the lead up to this final. Nonetheless, McKinley showed true heart and battled with pride all the way in this heavyweight class. With ample muscle to spare, McKinley’s downfall today was simply his condition, which at Britain level was just not adequate to get amongst the top places.
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The final class of the day saw nine resolute physique competitors take to the stage to commence battle. With a pro-card on offer to the winner of this class, tensions were running at fever pitch, each and every competitor determined to join that elusive list of BNBF Professionals. The line up of physiques was tremendously mixed and varied, and presented the judges with an almighty task of placing them.
In 1st place and accepting new professional status was Dawn Roberts. Whoever coined the phrase that ‘good things come in small packages’, may well have had Dawn Roberts in mind. Today, on the biggest natural stage in Britain, this little dynamo triumphed amongst giants. Dawn was in life-time best shape, finely detailed from head to toe, her legs in particular being her most impressive asset. In truth, for many it was a testament to the notion that quality will always be favoured over quantity, and at these championships, Dawn presented the best balance of symmetry, muscularity and condition to take home the winner’s crown, and the spoils that go with it.
Grabbing 2nd place was Helen Thwaites. A great result for Helen in a tough field of mixed physiques. Helen’s shape was arguably the best in the class, effortlessly combining broad, capped shoulders and flaring quads, and with that subsequently scored very highly in the symmetry round. If I’m honest, I have seen Helen in better condition in the past, particularly in regard to her legs which appeared to be somewhat softer than usual. Nevertheless, Helen’s physique and impressive shape was of such a standard that she could not be denied a top 2 finish.
In 3rd place was Central Champion, Anne Gardner. Anne had perhaps come into these finals as the underlying favourite to take this title. In the end, where it counted, Anne’s condition was just that little bit down on the destructive package that she brought to the Central qualifier and the British title eluded her. Anne’s muscularity is hands down the most impressive of the class, showcasing rugged and hard earned mass in a variety of poses. In particular, her side chest and back double bicep pose highlighted the muscular dominance she held over her compatriots. Nevertheless, bodybuilding is judged on more than muscularity alone and today Anne suffered very badly in the symmetry round. Anne, focus on that posing, and show your true shape to the fullest as you have all the necessary assets to take this title.
In 4th place was Scottish Champion, Layla Docherty. Layla has made a successful transition from figure to physique this year and demonstrated this success with a 4th place finish. Layla owns arguably the best pair of shoulders in the class, full, capped an impressive from every angle. Layla’s legs are also dominant, with large, sweeping quads, tremendous glutes further complemented by a fine level of conditioning. I still feel that Layla would benefit from more back width to balance out her physique and also to work on her front relaxed pose, which had a tendency to get a little ’tight’.
In 5th place was Anna Millington. Anna has been impressive all season and has all the necessary tools in abundance to be very successful in this division in the near future. Anna’s upper body is very complete, balanced and crisp, with possibly the most impressive shoulder and back width in the entire class. I feel that the occasion got the better of Anna today, and consequently affected her presentation which often appeared a little ‘cramped’. I hope to see Anna return to the stage next season stronger and more focused than ever.
Rounding off the top 6 was Southern Champion, Eve Day. The best conditioned competitor of the class, Eve had prepared well for this show – rock hard and detailed from every angle. Eve’s legs are a particular standout, showcasing deeply separated quads and finely etched hamstrings. Despite being one of the smaller competitors if the class, Eve held her own in the muscularity round. In such strong company, however, Eve struggled to compete with the overwhelming shape and symmetry of some of the competitors placed above her and had to settle for a respectable 6th place finish.
Also competing: Laura Young, Sandra Mounsey, Sandi Griffin.
Best Contribution to Natural Bodybuilding Award – Brian Hill
Each year, the BNBF presents this special (and usually surprise) award to one person deemed to have made the biggest contribution to the federation over the course of the season. More often than not, though, the recipient of this award has worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the BNBF for many years, without expectation of reward or personal glory. This year, that honour was deservedly awarded to Brian Hill. For those of us who know Brian, his contribution is always acknowledged, but for the vast majority who attend shows unaware of his tireless work – for you I will spell it out! Brian travels hundreds (if not thousands) of miles every year to attend and support BNBF shows, as well as providing the weights required for athletes backstage. In addition, Brian coaches and encourages many prospective competitors to compete with the BNBF from his Gracemount Gym in Edinburgh and at BNBF Clubs, encouraging each and every one of them to be their best. Upon the announcement of this award, those in attendance at the show witnessed one of those wonderful moments in life when someone so deserving is genuinely staggered to have been considered for such an award. Let me tell you, Brian, you deserve it and it couldn’t have gone to a nicer guy.
Best Wheels Award
Sponsored by Planet bodybuild
Best Presentation Award – Female
Sponsored by 247Bodybuilding.com
Best Presentation Award – Male
Sponsored by 247Bodybuilding.com
Sponsored by CNP Professional
And so we arrive at the pinnacle of these British Championships, one final contest remained to determine who really is the best of the best? The Champion of Champions? Each and every individual class winner would take to the stage one final time to battle it out for the most coveted title of them all – BNBF British Overall Champion, 2009. With the progression of the symmetry round it was becoming apparent that the eventual winner would come from one of 4 classes: Daz Cooper from Middleweight, Barry Cunliffe from the Lightweights, David Iroegbu from the Heavyweights and Master’s Champion, Roger Waters, with Junior winner Andrew Chappell fighting it out on the periphery. Each and every challenger to the title presented undeniable strengths of their own. With his formidable size and structure, David Iroegbu seemed to have the edge on symmetry, yet in comparison to the granite physique of Daz Cooper, was exposed as being a little soft. Lightweight conqueror Barry Cunliffe had it all, yet seemed unable to fight off the inevitable drowning in waves of muscle that were lashing from the big men positioned all around him. Master Roger Waters undeniably had the size and unparalleled condition to win, but perhaps his physique appeared just too untidy in direct comparison with fellow champions. Alas, the muscularity round would declare a winner and seal the fate of the other challengers. Pose after pose and round after round, eyes were always reverting back to one man and in the end, it was clear that one man could not be denied. As Daz Cooper’s name was announced, a smile of peaceful fulfilment began to spread across his face, and with that held both arms aloft in the air, pointing to the sky in response to an increasing chorus of appreciative applause. And indeed in that exact moment, looked very much like the winner’s trophy itself.
Daz Cooper – Overall BNBF British Champion, 2009
With the passing of the sword, the curtain falls on yet another successful BNBF season. Throughout the qualifiers, the team has travelled many miles, yet shared many smiles and looks onward to the future with a sense of peaceful satisfaction that all is well in the heart of British Natural Bodybuilding. For the lucky few who have tasted success, attentions now turn to Washington and the impending Pro-World Championships in 6 weeks time. Predictions mean little, but I just have this perpetual feeling that from such magnificent heritage, our professionals will do just fine across the pond.
As always, a moment should be spared to reflect on those hard working and tireless individuals who dedicate their time and energy to ensure that each and every BNBF show runs as successfully as it eventually does. From those backstage frantically tanning and organising the competitors, to those manning show security and drug testing and finally to the masterminds who orchestrate show lighting, music and stage organisation, you are all stars in your own right and are an invaluable asset to the BNBF.
So for one last time, from me to you, it’s been a pleasure – thank you and good night!