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by John Plummer

Photography by Kevin Horton

Five UKBFF athletes were awarded IFBB Elite Pro cards on a thrilling first day of the 2018 British Championships in Nottingham. Marta Mila (bikini fitness), El Noval (men's physique), Kristie Sanderson (bodyfitness), Alaura Galeru (wellness) and Mahmoud Elmawardy (muscular men's physique) claimed the major honours on a day that saw 253 athletes take to the stage.

As usual, day one focused on the less extreme categories before bodybuilding commands centre stage tomorrow. The standard throughout the 10-hour muscle marathon was exceptional.

It was also announced that next year's English Grand Prix has been upgraded to an IFBB Diamond Cup event. A strong international contingent is expected to fly in to compete alongside the best of British for IFBB Elite Pro cards at the event, which will be held on June 23 and 24 in Reading.

El Noval, who won the up to 173 cm men’s physique height class and overall. Pic by Kevin Horton.

El Noval, who won the up to 173 cm men’s physique height class and overall. Pic by Kevin Horton.


El Noval returned to the stage after a two-year absence by winning the up to 173 cm height class and the overall. The 26-year-old from Suffolk dialled in his condition, despite personal problems in his prep, to show you don't have to be big to stand out if your proportions and conditioning are right. With his tiny waist, prominent abs and striking taper, El has all the qualities of a champion from the front and he maintained this standard when he turned to the back, showing good rear delts and back.

British Bengali Shamsul Ali also displayed breath-taking shape and proportions to win the up to 179 cm height class. He needed to be tight because Francisco Rocha doesn't lose many. Over-40 Francisco once again showed he's more than a match for most younger guys but Shamsul's fresh package edged him out.

The judges favoured more muscular competitors in the two taller classes. Daniel Hinds was the choice in the up to 182 cm class and Richard Folley took the over 182 cm division. Both men were lean with tapered upper bodies.

Giuliano Mateas' tremendous conditioning prevailed in the juniors. Giuliano had an excellent overall package but his midsection was outstandingly detailed. Runner-up Jake Berney has made a big impression this year with his lovely shape and relaxed, confident stage manner. Too many men's physique guys still hit poses too hard.

Some promising talent has emerged this year in rookie and the final boiled down to a close battle between outstanding top three Kishan Patel, Nick Jenner and Jonathan Kirk. All thee found the shreds but Kishan's clean lines got the nod.

Mahmoud Elmawardy, who was the first man to win a muscular men's physique contest in the UK, is now the British champion – and an IFBB Elite Pro. It rounded off a fantastic fortnight that also saw him win bronze in Spain at the Arnold Classic Europe.


Last year Marta Mila emerged as Britain's most exciting amateur prospect; today she announced her arrival as a pro. A fortnight after winning silver at the Arnold Classic Europe, the 24-year-old from Norwich won gold in the tallest height class then went on to defeat the three other height class champions for the overall, displaying a body that looks every bit ready for the pro stage.

Marta is at the forefront of an exciting wave of young talent in the UKBFF, with Rebeka Tunegova, 22, also leading the way. Rebeka ended a busy year that has seen her win the English Grand Prix and travel around Europe by taking the juniors and the up to 162 cm height class.

Rebecca overcame another rising star, Bilyana Topolova, in the up to 162 cm height class. She beat Imogen Brown, who is just a teenager, in the juniors. With a little more development from the rear, Imogen will also be a major force soon. The tiny-waisted Sophie Gallagher, who has a lovely balanced shape, finished third in the juniors and fourth in her height class.

Bridget Foster brought her well trained shape perfectly to peak to defeat Kasia Romanowicz in the up to 166 cm category. Lisa Graham rounded off a year that has taken in the UK Nationals, IFBB European Championships and the Arnold Classic Africa with a convincing win in the up to 169 cm class. Lisa is a class act who always delivers. Melissa Teacy, who finished second, has made her mark this year with an attractive, fresh and athletic look.

The quality of the rookie line-up underlined the new wave of talent coming through. Alice Richardson's attractive, balanced package defeated

the impressive Viktoriya Ruminwaviciute.

It wasn't just the juniors making noise: the masters line-up was absolutely stacked with talent, as 22 jousted for honours. Some incredible physiques never made the top 10. The lovely lean times of Hajnalka Lipcsei were judged best in class, ahead of Katerina Jakubcova and Becky Goodall


Two weeks after finishing second at the Arnold Classic Europe, Kristie Sanderson is now the overall British champion and a new IFBB Elite Pro. Kristie was the standout in her height class and for the overall, where she overcame Charley Wright, whose physique came to life when she posed and hit some lovely shapes. Yaa Yaa Afriyie, who was runner-up in the short class to Charley, consistently brings improvements to the stage and she looked absolutely superb, especially in the back and glutes. Her extra muscularity, however, stood out and she is borderline women's physique. But this was Christie's day: she deliberately came in a little softer here than at the Arnold and looked every inch a pro, showing quality in every quarter-turn.

In the masters, Olga Upelniece built on her recent success in Barcelona at the Arnold Classic Europe with victory in a deep line-up. Olga has a wonderful shape and presents it well.

Wellness winner Alaura Galeru celebrates turning pro with Eddie Abbew (left) and UKBFF president Bill Tierney. Pic by Kevin Horton

Wellness winner Alaura Galeru celebrates turning pro with Eddie Abbew (left) and UKBFF president Bill Tierney. Pic by Kevin Horton


Alaura Galeru dominated a strong and deep wellness class, once again looking good from the front but delivering the knockout blow from behind. Galeru's glutes were made for wellness and it will be interesting to see how she fares as a pro, as she has a sprinkling of star quality.

Runner-up Jodie Frazer has also had a wonderful year, finishing in the top five at the Arnold Classic Europe and now second at the British. Jade Packer has also emerged as a new talent with her shapely lower body catapulting her to third in Britain. Wellness, which only began last year, is now firmly established as one of the most eagerly awaited categories.


Junior Men's Physique

1 Giuliano Mateas

2 Jake Berney

3 Kleris Zoga

also competed: Sintu Dewa, Edward Booker, Sami Maz, Luis Hurley, Christopher Hughes, Alexander Blight, Daniel Coulton, Louis Nonnis, Mitch Allmark, Billy Allen, Chester Birch, Toby Owen, Jordon Lennon and Jack Hodges

Junior Bikini Fitness

1 Rebeka Tunegova

2 Imogen Brown

3 Sophie Gallagher

4 Dominika Korzen

also competed: Charlotte Fritz, Hayley Irwin, Morgan Bruce, Josephine Powell, Zoe Green, Hana Jindrova, Jasmine Cooper, Paige Garner and Chelsy Osborne

Rookie Bikini Fitness

1 Alice Richardson

2 Viktoriya Ruminwaviciute

3 Safa Awajan

4 Harriet Iles

5 Serena Cable

6 Lucia Soltisova

also competed: Laura Hinds, Constance Booth, Clare Louise Wood, Jade Holland, Emma Hunt and Kamaweet Kaur

Bikini Fitness up to 162 cm

1 Rebeka Tunegova

2 Bilyana Topolova

3 Bea Mitchell

4 Sophie Gallagher

5 Kate Batten

6 Hannah Wares

also competed: Elizabeth Finley, Sarah Knott, Dionne White, Bhavika Parmar and Lydrune Misiunaute

Bikini Fitness up to 166 cm

1 Bridget Foster

2 Kasia Romanowicz

3 Lucy Hillsley

4 Ashleigh Jackson

5 Mariana Semchii

6 Zane Zviedre

also competed: Sarah Jenkins-Brown, Amy Carlan, Zoe Calaway and Natalia Jachura

Rookie Men's Physique

1 Kishan Patel

2 Nick Jenner

3 Jonathan Kirk

4 Sean O'Shea

5 Myles Ajayi

6 Karanvir Virk

also competed: William Cocker, Ben Clark, Oliver Reynoldson, Abdul Wahab, Richard Smith and Matt Revill

Men's Physique up to 173 cm

1 El Noval

2 Aaron Daley

3 Calvin Ruhn

4 Kleris Zoga

5 Ismail Collymore

6 Jose Nunes

also competed: Elliot Welch, Gabriez Rusu, Bradley Walker, Liam Gol, Antoni Marcello Costa, Foyez Ahmed, Abraham Iwakyn, Carl Hewer, Nicola Rungo, Elyas Noor, Craig Silkens, Dayo Adebowale, Omar Tairay and Louis Taylor

Men's Physique up to 179 cm

1 Shamsul Ali

2 Francisco Rocha

3 Lukasz Kacmarczyc

4 Vasil Demirov

5 Mohammad Zadeh

6 Abdul Rahman Aloumi

also competed: Ian Wallace, Krzystof Kacmarowski, Sami Tertar, Tom Wolfe, Benjamin Dashwood, Chris Ritchens, Macie Wolf, Mateusz Wielunski, Radek Tolwinski, Keith Johnson, Dave Walters, Antonio Ajewole, Hossam Mohamed, Billy Croson and Jahangir Bangash

Bodyfitness up to 163 cm

1 Charley Wright

2 Yaa Yaa Afriyie

3 Charlotte Humphreys

4 Mariya Petrova

5 Michelle Berry

Bodyfitness over 163 cm

1 Kristie Sanderson

2 Sapphie Dudley


1 Alaura Galeru

2 Jodie Frazer

3 Jade Packer

4 Amy Payne

5 Sharna Richards-Blyth

6 Sophie Dakin

also competed: Kayleigh Clarke, Sarah Simmands, Sylwia Tumilowicz, Nadine Blackett, Shona Hegarty, Mel Maguire, Lauren Eames, Suz Ferreira, Monika Kozlowsky, Lily Anderson, Stefanie Griffin, Stephanie Smirthwaite and Sarah Ekanem

Men's Physique up to 182 cm

1 Daniel Hinds

2 Damien Wood

3 George Ogunptian

4 Andrew Jackson

5 Lewy Hutcheson

6 Christopher Barton

also competed: Michal Kontra, Mahesh Vekanya and Peet Rothwell

Bikini Fitness up to 169 cm

1 Lisa Graham

2 Melissa Teacy

3 Greta Supinate

4 Brigita Urbonas

5 Steph Richardson

6 Tawana Cushnie

also competed: Nikita Cellini, Tyler Bell, Zoey Hughes, Anna Pearson, Alison Jane Werrell and Karolina Kalinowska

Bikini Fitness over 169 cm

1 Marta Mila

2 Cassie Hunter

3 Dominika Korzen

4 Stacey Badger

5 Marta Nowicka

6 Hayley Fenning

also competed: Brooke Wood, Tereza Sukova and Becky West

Men's Physique over 182 cm

1 Richard Folley

2 Koyode Osibanjo

3 Anish Patel

4 Oliver Barnes

5 Michal Kontra

6 Michael Malone

also competed: Gavin Swann and Dean Bonner

Masters Bikini Fitness over 35 years

1 Hajnalka Lipcsei

2 Katerina Jakubcova

3 Becky Goodall

4 Laura Colledge

5 Stef Blackburn

6 Anne Bulmer

also competed: Alison Fernandes, Pamela David, Hayley Fenning, Agnes Zal, Monika Matusova, Anna Pearson, Maria Franco, Hannah Nicholls, Toni Charles, Louise Adams, Tracey Harley, Natalie Lawrence, Victoria Crewe, Anna Stapley, Maomi Remy and Anna Jarvis

Masters Bodyfitness over 35

1 Olga Upelniece

2 Claudia Flueo

3 Ugne Bubnaityte

4 Yaa Yaa Afriyie

5 Ruth Pierronet

6 Helen Stafford

also competed: Anita Szabo, Charley Wilkes, Yvette Arthur, Debie Gordon, Magdalena Szymanska, Lyndsey Devereux, Heylia Cooper, Leanne Cryer, Rachael West, Leanne Dix, Agnieslka Jaszczura and Nathalie Honvault

Masters Men's Physique over 40

1 Syed Rahat Ali Shah

2 Michael Belgrave

3 Paul Herbert

4 Alex Lemos

5 Richard Muir

6 David Nuzzo

also competed: Dylan Jones, Roger Langridge, Zdravko Tanchovski, Alexander Brimelow, Dave Walters, Liam Gol, Trevor Campbell, Gladstone Simpson, Ray Warwick, Chris Harrison, David Moss, Rob Thurston, Carl Burrell and Donovan Robinson

Muscular Men's Physique

1 Mahmoud Elmawardy

2 Dwayne Roberts

3 Wagner Rocha

4 Luke Hands

5 Samson Bolvis

6 Shelomi Douglas

also competed: Mario Torres, Adam Wadey, Courtney Moseley, Austen Gardiner, Domas Jaudzemas and Andrei-Alexander Adam