UK NATIONALS SET TO START 2018 SEASON

Five months after the 2017 season ended, the 2018 season is about to get underway.

The UK Nationals, which takes place on Sunday, is the first of two big shows this month, with the blockbuster South Coast Championships in Portsmouth next up on April 22.

The UK Nationals has been the starting point of some great careers since it began five years ago: win here and you are eligible to represent the UK at major international IFBB events abroad.

With the IFBB European Championships less than a month away, a new generation of talent will be hoping to book their places for the competition in the Spanish coastal resort of Santa Susanna, with the cost of flights and hotel covered by the UKBFF.

 Emi Roberti displays an impressive side chest on his way to victory at last year's UK Nationals. PHOTO: Christopher Bailey

Emi Roberti displays an impressive side chest on his way to victory at last year's UK Nationals. PHOTO: Christopher Bailey

Many competitors choose to make their debut at this drug-tested event. For some, it could well be the start of something big.

This is the first of 17 domestic contests in 2018. This year's calendar also includes European and world championships, the Arnold Classic Europe, numerous Diamond Cups and Elite Pro qualifiers.

Those good enough to become Elite Pros will be eligible to compete for prize money abroad.

This week saw another Elite Pro event in Canada, worth $34,000, added to the calendar. British Elite Pro Liz Richardson is flying overseas for the €25,000 Malta Elite Pro this weekend.

Elite Pros who earn the most points over the season will battle it out at the €200,000 World Professional Championship.

The UK Nationals is the first of three events to be staged by UKBFF vice-president Dennis 'Sugar' Christopher at Leicester's magnificent De Montfort Hall this year.

“It's going to be a great show and we are grateful for everybody's support,” says Sugar.

All day tickets cost £25 for adults and £15 for under-13s. Family tickets, which admit four people, are available for £60.

Registration begins at 8.30am and it is hoped the show will start at 12.30pm.

There is ample parking at the venue.