The BNBF Northern Ireland Qualifier was sponsored by Optimum Nutrition.
This is only our 2nd year in Northern Ireland and although the number of competitors is still a little low it really was a really great show.
There was fantastic support from local companies sponsoring the classes and the audience turned out to truly support the athletes.
Our man on the ground Eric Dowey was really excited with many of the competitors and the journeys they had made to get to the stage. It bodes well for next year and growth of natural bodybuilding in the area. The BNBF Clubs run in Compound Gym by Eric will make a big difference.
The first class to the stage was the Juniors
This was a class of 2 but immediately gave the judges a headache.
Joel McAvoy had the best potential of the 2 with a lovely V taper and a strong muscle development in his back. Joel does need to work on his legs as they were not as strong as upper body. It was Joel’s condition however that wasn’t good enough and lost him the top spot.
Patrick Toner took the win with his better leg development and his condition being good enough to get the nod. Patrick does however need to look at developing more width in his back and shoulders as unlike Joel his legs were much stronger than his upper body although he did have very good abs.
Both Joel and Patrick both have work to do for the British Finals
Next up was The Masters
There were 3 in the masters but one competitor was actually over 60 so was not judged alongside the others.
Eddie Howarth the over 60’s competitor has a lot of muscle but could be harder to show it off, Eddie is great fun on stage and poses with real classic style.
The other 2 masters were battling for the BNBF NI Masters title. In 1st place James Allen was the more complete of the 2 competitors. James had a lovely balance with an aesthetic shape and was in good condition but did look slightly softer in the evening. James could definitely be tighter in the glutes and hams though. James had a absolutely fantastic tan, really got that spot on.
2nd was David Stewart, David had a great V taper and was in good condition. David needs to bring his leg up slightly to be more balanced, David was weak in the hamstrings, glutes and lower back.
Work to be done but a good structure.
The first of the ladies classes was the Masters Figure.
The winner was Joanna Kusal who had a good balance of shape and condition. A very competitive masters figure who could go on to do well at the finals. Joanna just needs to work on a bit more glute development as she is stronger from front than rear.
There was very little spliting 2nd and 3rd with Caroline Neill having just enough to take 2nd place. Caroline was slightly more muscular and tighter in the glutes and hams where Michelle had the better shape but lacked the muscle fullness of Caroline especially in the glutes and hams. Michelle was 3rd this time out.
In 4th was Tracy Gilpin, Tracy actually was quite neat and did have some muscle in her upper body but Tracy was too soft especially in the glutes to take higher this time . Tracy’s bikini sat too low on her hips making her waist look to long. Easy fix
Next to the stage was the Novice Class
This is the first time I have ever seen only 2 competitors in a novice class, normally one of the busier classes.
Very much like the juniors even though there was only 2 in the class it was a hard decision.
Callum Scott had a good shape and was in the better condition during the day but faded in the evening. Callum still managed to scrape the win in a tight battle but more work needed.
Michael Andrews has great potential lovely full muscle bellies with great pecs and had the stronger legs of the 2. Michael seemed to lack confidence early on and his posing was weak at times.
There was very little splitting them and even the judges were split with no unanimous decision. However when the dust settled from a fun posedown it was Callum who was awarded top spot with Michael a close 2nd.
The lightweight class was the 1st of the mens weight classes
This being a particularly light class both competitors really lacked a little muscle. The winner was Paul Cullen, I have seen Paul look better and he had really taken his diet a bit too far and lost a bit muscle. Paul you really need to fill out more for next outing you were extremely flat which was definitely detrimental to your physique.
2nd was Steven Moult, Steven was a bit fuller than Paul and had bigger arms and legs. Stevens condition was not quite right and he looked soft and a bit empty, a learning experience for a first time competitor.
This was the strongest class of the day. The winner was James Melville, James also went on to take the best wheels and the overall title.
James was very much the strongest competitor of the day with a great balance of shape, muscle and condition. Although this was the middleweight class due to the very light weight of the lightweight competitors these middleweights will all most likely be lightweights at the finals. James has Broad shoulders, small waist with sweeping quads and great leg detail.
James is still slightly weaker from back than front but he really has worked hard to make improvements since last year. It is always great when you have given advice to a competitor and they have taken it on board and come back so much stronger. There difference in a year was very obvious, well done James.
2nd was Darren O’leary, Darren was the opposite from James and was actually very strong from the back and this was where he nipped the 2nd place from Karl. Darren had a lovely shape with good muscle separation and a tiny waist. From the rear he was very aesthetic. A bit more size all over and Darren will be very competitive.
Karl was actually probably slightly bigger than Darren in size but lacked the clean lines. From the front it could have possibly been Karls 2nd place but unfortunately Karl was weaker from the back and Darren pushed Karl into 3rd.
4th was a muscular Sam Dando. Sam really needs to nail condition to show the judges what he has, Sam did a good routine and does have potential.
Another small class with only 2 competitors .
First was a clear winner, Luke Wellington had a big frame and filled it well, Luke had good pecs and abs but really needs to be harder to battle in a stronger class.
2nd was Kieran Murray. Kieran had pecs and traps with some good back width but really lacks the muscle and condition to be competitive at this time.
The last class was the figure class which was the biggest of the day with 6 competitors.
The girls all seemed to have fun and be very supportive of each other which was lovely to see.
The winner was Karina Zakurdajena, Karina had good muscle tone and good condition for a figure class, looking toned front and back. She has strong arms leg and abs. Although a strong figure competitor is possibly even better suited to athletic class however Karina would need to bring her condition in quite a bit more. Karina had fabulous stage presence and really looked like she was having fun. Karina did look harder during the day so may have to watch what she does between prejudging and evening shows when decisions are tighter. A strong winner and invited to choose to do either figure or athletic at the finals.
2nd was Carol Milligan, Carol looked very competitive from the front with good arms & great abs. From the rear Carol is not as strong with better condition needed especially in glutes and hamstrings. Still time to bring the condition in for the finals.
3rd was Edel Burns, Edel has lovely stage presence and a good taper waist to shoulders however Edel will need to bring better condition in glutes and hams to be more competitive.
4th was Lauren Rogers, Lauren has a lovely natural shape and great potential but lacked condition to make any more impact. The lack of tan at pre judging wouldn’t have helped but Lauren did look better in evening show.
5th was Esther Smyth, Esther was too soft in lower body to push higher but had a lovely rear double bicep pose which showed off her muscular back. I think over time Esther will get a more balanced look.
6th was Tara Neill, Tara was very flat which made her appear narrow and a little shapeless. This really may be a diet issue as she was quite hard in areas but as said just very flat.
Thank you to everyone who made this a very enjoyable day, the competitors and spectators were amazing and we all thought it was a very positive event.