2011 UKBFF MuscleTalk Championship
Report by Aaron Hallett
Held on 26th June 2011 at the Corn Exchange, Bedford
Last year we saw the introduction of the MuscleTalk Championship as a new qualifying event for the UKBFF British Finals and, with the feedback received from 2010, James Collier and Luke Nicholls set to work on making 2011's event an even better spectacle for competitors and fans alike.
With a higher competitor turn out this year it was already off to a flying start and landing on what was the hottest day of the year so far, everyone was pleased to find out the venue's air conditioning was working! The venue soon filled out and, as the first classes took to the stage, there was a great atmosphere; there is nothing worse for a competitor than walking out to the chirps of crickets and a sea of poker faces in the crowd.
This year's MuscleTalk Championship was special because many members from the forum itself took part in a number of different classes as well which helped to build up the anticipation. In the Classic class alone there were ten competitors, of which three were MuscleTalk members.
Jamie Darling took the junior class, a bright prospect for the future who, although had no competition on the day, I can see pushing for a top placing in the finals.
The Over 40 Masters class saw MT member Neal Wiles (scrubby) take 2nd spot in what was a tough class; Andy Clarke taking top spot with a blend of freaky size and conditioning.
1ST ANDY CLARKE *
2ND NEAL WILES (MT MEMBER SCRUBBY)
3RD RICHARD COOPER
4TH VLADICA NARKOVIC
The Over 50kg Masters class saw another MT member Nigel Morgan (Biker) pit himself against Gary Walsh and Alan Turner who made this class a great spectacle of how the human body can be in fantastic shape and conditioning regardless of age.
1ST GARY WALSH *
2ND ALAN TURNER
3RD NIGEL MORGAN (MT MEMBER BIKER)
The Bodyfitness class is usually a tricky one for me to place critique on, but as soon as Karen Norris took to the stage I knew she would take it. I look forward to seeing her in the finals with those clear cut abs.
1ST KAREN NORRIS *
2ND ANN WILGOSZ
3RD CARON CHAMBERLAIN
The Inters U80kg class was a very tight class indeed with Lee Sholtan somehow shoe-horning his way into the class; he looked an U90kg at least with thick oak trees for legs and wide thick back musculature. The winner Nabil Athwatham however presented a very classical looking physique of Grecian proportions: big, full chest, great abs and smooth flow to his posing. I was happy to see both Lee and Nabil qualify for the British.
1ST NABIL ATHWATHAM *
2ND LEE SHOLTAN *
3RD CHRISTIAN LOXTON
4TH ADAM 'TRAPS' HOWLETT
The Inters U90kg class saw MT member and employee Lambo come out to a huge crowd reception and he looked the clear winner from the outset. If Aarron dials in his leg separation more, I can see a high placing high at the finals. As Lambo is a close friend of James Collier I could see the restraint in James as he announced Lambo as the class winner, ha ha! Nik Okezika was holding his own against the rest of the pack and was tipped over a densely built Henry Jensen for 2nd spot.
1ST AARRON LAMBERT (MT MEMBER LAMBO) *
2ND NIK OKEZIKA
3RD HENRY JENSEN
Now, I had my eye on this as I had already qualified for the British Finals in this class so it was a good chance to scout the competition. Out thudded five competitors onto the stage showing huge amounts of muscle, I drew a deep breath at that point that's for sure. For me Craig Lee was the runaway winner with a blend of size and crisp conditioning that saw his quads adorned with feathering on the outer and inner heads. If you can bring in that level of conditioning you are a worth winner in my eyes and Craig did just that taking top spot. Chomping at his heels, however, was Jem Nazim who presented a flawless build from trap to calve but sadly missed the condition required to push Craig harder. Both took a qualification slip to the Finals: see you there guys!
1ST CRAIG LEE *
2ND JEM NAZIM *
3RD KRISTIAN SWAN
At the half time intermission Rod 'Rambo' Lenette took to the stage with a display of competition arm wrestling and the 2010 Inters 90kg+ British Champion, MuscleTalk sponsored athlete and the new face of Duke Nukem, Oliver Price waded in to test himself against the arm wrestling world champion with some comical scenes ensuing!
The Classic class is now becoming one of the most popular classes in most shows and ten competitors took to the stage with MT members Darran Clement (Dazc), Adam West (Westy) and Neil Prescott (Flanders) in tow. It's always hard to try and restrain yourself when you see a friend on stage and when I saw Darran (Dazc) take the class with a mix of size, proportions and Cheshire cat grin, I nearly lost the laptop off the table!
This was the hardest class to call from second place down and it was evident with the amount of switching around the judges did for comparisons, but in the end Chris Mosely took second with super dry conditioning, and Nick Adcock placed third who sported some deep quad separation.
1ST DARREN CLEMENT (MT MEMBER DAZC) *
2ND CHRIS MOSELY
3RD NICK ADCOCK
Julie Walsh walked out for the Ms Physique class on her own, sadly but it will be good to see her compete against the other qualifiers in the Finals.
The last of the female classes was the Bikini class, a new class in the UKBFF. Vanessa Melchor won the class with a great blend of slender lines and stage presence.
1ST VANNESA MELCHOR *
2ND JOANNA WALTERS
3RD LUCY CLARKE
The Men's weight classes started out with Chetan Sictoray and Mashuk Miah in the U70kg class. Both competitors seemed to be Ying and Yang with one sporting a trait that the other was lacking. Chetan had the conditioning but required more mass in the legs while Mashuk had the leg size but lacked the conditioning.
1ST CHETAN SICTORAY *
2ND MASHUK MIAH
The U80kg class lined up and Derek Hastie had the class straight away in my eyes with a complete package of size, proportions and symmetry. Ahmed Ibrahim is certainly the competing nomad touring the UK's events in search of the qualification he desires but again, sadly slipped away.
1ST DEREK HASTIE *
2ND AMHED IBRAHIM
3RD ROBERT COLE
Up next was the light heavyweights U90kg class and Richie Goodwin (last year's winner) was pitted against David McKessy. Richie always brings in the conditioning and didn't disappoint; David was slightly behind Richard but I found afterwards it was Richard's pec tear that held him back from top spot.
1ST DAVID MCKESSY *
2ND RICHIE GOODWIN
The Open Challenge round is for those competitors who have already qualified for the British Finals yet still wish to compete in the meantime. The rules as they stand prevent them taking a potential qualification spot from another competitor in a different show but this way they can still compete against other pre-qualified athletes.
1ST TOMAS SOLDKIEWICZ *
2ND MIROSLAW LOPIATECK *
The guest poser for the event was none other than MT Sponsored Shaun Joseph-Tavernier who was hot off his first pro win in the 202 class in Toronto, just a week before. I was impressed that Shaun hadn't plunged into an all-you-can-eat food fest since then, as everyone was treated with the conditioning that won him his first place. Such size and muscle density to his frame, I look forward to seeing him battle it out at the Olympia with other UK competitors Flex Lewis and James Llewellin.
Now the big guys started to line up with the heavyweight class and Martin Stevenson thundered alongside them representing the only competitor in the super heavyweight category. I wonder if MT member Matt Wild (Papa Lazarou) and Adam Benard (BritBB) thought for 5 seconds that Martin was in their class! It was close between Matt and Adam, Matt had the conditioning and fullness yet Adam still tipped the scales for sheer size and had a much better presentation to his physique. Adam has always been known for his barn door back and it was swinging out in every pose from the rear... the old adage is that shows are won from the back and it was the deal breaker here in my opinion.
1ST ADAM BENARD (MT MEMBER BRITBB) *
2ND MATT WILD (MT MEMBER PAPA LAZAROU)
Martin Stevenson went unopposed on his class win but I feel he would have struggled against a competitor who came in with tighter conditioning. Martin has size in abundance but the conditioning was very much lacking.
1ST MARTIN STEVENSON*
At some shows there is an overall, all the winners of each class are invited to test themselves against each other regardless of weight class or experience to take the overall title of MuscleTalk Champion 2011. Even though there was disparity between the competitors in size, the common element was their sharp conditioning but size alone will not win it if a lighter competitor has better proportions. In the end after much comparison and a few pose downs, Craig Lee was tipped for the overall with his mix of size and conditioning.
Mr MuscleTalk 2011: Craig Lee
After the result was announced everyone filtered out to either enjoy the rest of the hot summer sun or meet up at the after party venue which didn't disappoint. Only 5 minutes walk away from the Corn Exchange those who paid for the VIP tickets could feast on a selection of Indian dishes and enjoy a few drinks surrounded by IFBB Pros, competitors from the day and their friends and family, no doubt all enjoying their hard earned food!
2011 marked another success for James Collier and Luke Nichols with this show and I look forward to reporting on it next year.
*Denotes qualification for the British Finals