UKBFF English Grand Prix
by John Plummer
Photography by Christopher Bailey
You can view and buy photos of this event here: https://www.ukbffphotos.com/2018/ENGLISH-GRAND-PRIX
Competitors can also buy all their images as a package here http://www.christopherbailey.co.uk/product-category/ukbff-stage-photos/
Invites to the Arnold Classic Europe, Diamond Cups and British Championships were the main prizes at the English Grand Prix.
A bumper 168 competitors took part in a high quality contest that culminated with Ross Alam (men's physique), Rebeka Tunegova (bikini fitness) and Mickael Boinot (bodybuilding) being named overall champions.
Alam and Tunegova are both juniors, showing a new generation of talent is emerging.
Gordon Singh, four-time British lightweight champion, was awarded his IFBB Elite Pro card and bodyfitness champ Connie Slyziut was also confirmed as an Elite Pro.
The prestigious event in Reading also featured the UKBFF's first classic physique class, which included the vacuum pose in an attempt to promote bodybuilding rather than belly-building.
The grand prix rounded off a busy fortnight that highlighted the opportunities in the UKBFF and IFBB.
The IFBB Elite Pro division staged the $80,000 Arnold Classic Africa and the $34,500 Elite Pro Madrid in the space of seven days. In between it was announced next month's Czech Elite Pro has put up $10,000 just for bodybuilding.
Britain's Ade Bishop won $1,500 at the Arnold and turned pro, Michelle Morris was awarded her pro card and now dozens of athletes have booked their place at the big show in Barcelona, the Arnold Classic Europe, at the end of September.
Next year, the English Grand Prix will become an international event, welcoming overseas athletes.
The over 90 kg was perhaps the best bodybuilding class of the year so far.
Lee Swinhoe, who easily won the Warrington show a few weeks ago, had a fight on his hands this time – Mickael Boinot had serious upper body thickness, particularly in his chest and shoulders, and scored highly on aesthetics. Swinhoe had more back width and superior conditioning in the rear poses but
Boinot got the verdict. Big Nick Bostock in third rounded out a great top three.
Simon Gheshash, one of the most consistently conditioned athletes on the circuit, added another winner's trophy to his collection in the under 90 kg class.
Northern Ireland's David Henderson destroyed his opponents in the under 80 kg category.
The 2016 British middleweight champion looked better than ever, with hanging hamstrings, improved quads and just a really impressive, balanced physique.
Mahmoud Elmawardy created a slice of history by becoming the first UKBFF classic physique champion. Even more impressively, he did it while observing Ramadan, which meant fasting during daylight.
Runner-up Michal Uliwiak had the consolation of winning classic bodybuilding. Tall, with clean lines and a handy habit of getting in shape, he is forging a reputation in this height-to-weight restricted class.
Kudos to Max Bagley for pulling off the best vacuum pose in classic physique.
Ross Alam, looking full in the upper body and sharp in the midsection and with a nice shape and flow to his physique, was unstoppable in the juniors.
He maintained his winning form in his height class to cement his status as one of the country's rising stars.
Calvin Rhun smashed it in the under 174 cm class, showing great aesthetics and balanced, sleek lines
Michael Sewell's muscular shoulders gave his upper body an impressive taper that along with his conditioning took the under 178 cm class.
The tall class was close between the bigger and fuller Koyode Osibanjo, who got the verdict, and Michal Kontra, who had less mass but a fresher look and strong aesthetics.
Masters champ Rob Thurston has been threatening to do something special for some time and he delivered it here, looking impressively muscular, balanced and lean.
Classic bodybuilding champion Mahmoud Elmawardy doubled up on the day by winning muscular men's physique. His abs were deep, his shoulders wide and he was solid throughout.
Junior bikini fitness set the tone with a superb line-up of eight highly trained females aged under 23.
Rising star Dominika Korzen further enhanced her reputation with third; the sleek lines and killer glutes of Natalie-Liu Roach were second and the winner, Rebeka Tunegova, presented a beautifully balanced package. Several of these women have big futures.
The future, in fact, arrived a few hours later when Slovakian-born Rebeka returned to win the up to 166 cm open class. Natalie-Liu was again second.
Korzen took a well deserved first in the over 166 cm open class, confirming that this was a day for youth.
In the masters, Katerina Jakubcova's youthful and aesthetic shape prevailed over northern champion Anne Bulmer, who keeps coming back better. Becky Goodall's exquisite lines were third.
Bodyfitness champion Kristie 'Muscle Barbie' Sanderson, who was runner-up at the British Championships last year, was one of the day's best conditioned athletes. The detail in her quads, in particular, was exceptional. Olga Upelniece's polished package was second ahead of Tilly James, who has a wonderful shape but wasn't quite lean enough.
Leticia Vecchi rocked the wellness look, showing the kind of lower body shape and conditioning this class is about.
Overall Bikini Fitness champion
Overall Men's Physique champion
Overall Bodybuilding champion
Junior Bikini Fitness
1 Rebeka Tunegova
2 Natalie-Liu Roach
3 Dominika Korzen
also competed: Emma Van Hagen, Greta Suoinaite, Monika Hosnedlova, Holly Moffatt and Lucy Evans
Junior Men's Physique
1 Ross Alam
2 Toby Owen
3 Eric Wu
also competed: Angelo Szoma, Antoine Guyon, Francisco Jacinto, Stanley Rohail, Daniel Mangan, Cris Nisbet, Cody Parr and Joshua Wall
Masters Bikini Fitness
1 Katerina Jakubcova
2 Anne Bulmer
3 Becky Goodall
also competed: Janelle McLaren, Imola Toth, Evelina Krapane, Carly Howlett, Daniela Blazheva, Charley Perla Lorenz-Baptiste, Rose Buivide, Nadia Resinelli, Alison Fernandes, Kathleen Steele, Wioletta Malinowska
Masters Men's Physique
1 Rob Thurston
2 Paul Herbert
3 Davide Nuzzo
also competed: Ahmet Unlucomert, Bruce Richardson, Anthony Potts, Jay Howlett, Gladstone Simpson, Behruz Badr-Safdari, Zdravko Tanchovski and Ioam Galban
1 Kristie Sanderson
2 Olga Upelniece
3 Tilly James
also competed: Amanda Gaborne Voros, Angela Lokman, Caroll Kerner Lisa Newman and Annina Halvorseth
1 Leticia Vecchi
2 Jade Packer
3 Mel Maguire
also competed: Fola Odewumi, Nadine Blackett, Teresa Sukova, Csilla Bilinkski, Rahil Papaghi-Aghdam, Veronica Verdi and Stella Eduvie
Muscular Men's Physique
1 Mahmoud Elmawardy
2 Mizan Hafizur Rahman
3 Heman Fong
also competed: Austen Gardiner
Men's Physique under 174 cm
1 Calvin Rhun
2 George-Sorin Dobre
3 Nicola Rungo
also competed: Liam Gol, Nicholas Scott, Toby Owen, Rez Ahmed, Xuandi Lin, Joshua Wall, Behruzzbadr Safdari and Chris Nisbet
1 Michal Uliwiak
2 Serdar Sherif
3 Alaa Kanone
also competed: Tom Maglaras, Remus Petrescu, Matthew Barton, Ciaren Batson, Max Bagley, Gracjan Liszka and Rafal Ksieski
Bikini Fitness up to 166 cm
1 Rebeka Tunegova
2 Natalie Lui-Roach
3 Mariana Semchi
also competed: Sarah Jenkins-Brown, Kerry Bexon, Lucy-Jane MacGowan, Mya Davies, Daniela Blazheva and Lauren Dicker
1 Mahmoud Elmawardy
2 Michal Uliwak
3 Mizan Rahman
also competed: Claren Batson, Remus Petrescu, Malkit Chana, Max Bagley, Gracjan Ciszka and Rafal Ksieski
Men's Physique under 178 cm
1 Michael Sewell
2 Giancarlo Brigginshaw
3 Shawn Lawrence
also competed: Wayne Brown, Sami Ahmed Tertar and Gheorghe Benzar
Bodybuilding under 80 kg
1 David Henderson
2 Nathan Barnes
3 Charles Olu
also competed: Malkit Chana, Adam Kirby and Elliot Padgham
Men's Physique under 182 cm
1 Ross Alam
2 Daniel Hinds
3 Stuart Niven
also competed: Petcukescu Alexandru, Stanley Rohail, Francisco Jacinto, Khushwant Singh, Imi Lewis, Kuldeep Chana, Georgian Manolache, Junior Sodamola, Andy Jackson, Barry Thurston, Metin Muztuccari, Etin Nosa and Mahesh Vekariya
Bikini Fitness over 166 cm
1 Dominika Korzen
2 Becky West
3 Greta Supinaite
also competed: Karolina Kalinskowa, Sofia Myers, Lisa Erskine, Stephanie Richardson, Sarah Jenkins-Brown, Wioletta Malinowska and Joanna Bronk
Bodybuilding under 90 kg
1 Simon Gheshash
2 Adam Young
3 Ryan Evans
also competed: Tomasz Nowak
Men's Physique over 182 cm
1 Koyode Osibanjo
2 Michal Kontra
3 Krzysztof Brychcy
also competed: Vladimirs Vinogradovs, Jamie Mark Thompson, Ashley Tapp and Mattia Balasini
Bodybuilding over 90 kg
1 Mickael Boinot
2 Lee Swinhoe
3 Nick Bostock
also competed: Theo Ojideh, Ryan Henessey, Karol Olender, Kevin Howell and Scott Danna