UK NATIONALS

by John Plummer

Photography by Kevin Horton

Competitors can buy all their stage photos as a package here https://www.ukbff.co.uk/photography-orders

Individual photos can be viewed and bought here https://www.ukbffphotos.com/2019/UK-NATIONALS

While Britain's politicians are wrestling with ways to get out of Europe, Britain's physique athletes were trying their hardest to get in it at today's UK Nationals.

The season-opening show offered a route to the Arnold Classic Europe in Spain and other major IFBB events, such as the European and World Championships.

Because of the quality of prizes on offer, this is always a high quality event, with plenty of quality and some fascinating match-ups. Here are the highlights.

Remember: next up is the South Coast Championships in Brighton on 12 May.

BODYBUILDING

Keith Nimo, who won the over-40s and over-90 kg bodybuilding classes.

Keith Nimo, who won the over-40s and over-90 kg bodybuilding classes.

Keith Nimo was the most muscular man on stage all day and took both the over-40s and the over-90 kg class. The Cumbrian may have mass but he's got a touch of class too: his physique flows nicely and his excellent posing got a great reaction from the appreciative audience. If he can shave off a few more pounds, it will be interesting to see how he does on an international stage.

Lazaro Almenares also doubled up by winning the over 50s and the up to 80 kg class. There was little to separate the up to 80 kg top three, where Jonathan Whitehead's hardness helped him defeat Nav 'the Sword' Almashan for second place.

The up to 90 kg top three had a strong Eastern European flavour. First place went to the sharply conditioned Vytautas Elmonas, who showed some really strong poses, especially side chest, to overcome Lukask Tomaszeuski and Kamil Dzierzanowski.

Gabriel Loftus' tight, quality package won the juniors. Gabriel had a nice X frame and looked particularly good in the rear poses. Runner-up Mitchell Turley showed impressive quad development.

Mensah Otah, a tall guy with a nice shape and particularly good chest, took classic bodybuilding. Mensah has a lot of potential if he can fill out his big frame.

Classic physique winner Donatas Kusleika was the epitome of what this category is about – killer shape and good presentation. He's not just a bodybuilder trying his luck at a new class – he's clearly looked closely at the criteria and brought a superb physique to the stage.

FEMALE CLASSES

Two of last year's breakthrough stars – Sophie Gallagher and Sarah Burdock – went head-to-head in junior bikini fitness. Both women have serious potential, with exquisite shapes and both were rewarded with invites to the UKBFF British Championships and IFBB European Championships.

Rising star Sophie Gallagher, who won junior bikini fitness and her height class.

Rising star Sophie Gallagher, who won junior bikini fitness and her height class.

But this was to be Sophie's day – she was third in the juniors and fourth in her height class at last year's British Championships and is clearly on a roll, as she further demonstrated when she went on to win the short height class here.

The short height class was an early contender for female class of the year – several of the line-up wouldn't look out of place on an international stage, which only highlights what a hot prospect Sophie is.

Just four months after rounding off a packed 2018, Lisa-Marie Graham returned to the stage looking a million dollars to successfully defend her UK Nationals bikini fitness height class title. Considering how little time she'd had away from the stage, Lisa-Marie's physique looked remarkably fresh and even showed noticeable improvements, particularly in the rear poses. She needed to bring it because she was up against a strong chasing pack, led by the accomplished Bridget Foster.

Stefanie Griffin carried on where she ended last year, by winning in wellness. Stefanie was number one four months ago at the season-ending Sugar Classic and was number one again today, killing her rivals once again in the back poses. Runner-up Karin Pienaar brought a complete, well conditioned look to the stage.

Becky Goodall is another upwardly mobile competitor, who continues to pick up trophies. With her height, commanding stage presence and impressively lean and symmetrical physique she is a difficult woman to beat and so it proved again as she took first in masters bikini fitness. The Sheffield woman narrowly failed to make it a double by missing out to the attractive slender shape Tereza Sukova in the tall height class.

Few competitors trained harder for this competition than masters bodyfitness duo Clare Kehoe and Leanne Dix. Both women turned up in outstanding shape and it was difficult to separate them. Leanne was really dry – the cuts in her legs showed how hard she'd dieted. Clare had a tiny waist that helped her physique flow a little better and she won, but boy, it must have been tight.

To highlight how good they were, the same two women also took top two in open bodyfitness.

MEN'S PHYSIQUE

Francisco Rocha was the physique star of the day, going home with two first place trophies. Now aged 40, Francisco shows no sign of slowing down. He overcame international competitor Dave Walters in the masters then returned to take the up to 179 cm height class, which was the biggest line-up of the day.

Francesco Roche, who won his height class and the masters class in men’s physique.

Francesco Roche, who won his height class and the masters class in men’s physique.

Matt Pilmoor towered above his rivals in the over 179 cm class, which isn't usually a good sign. Tall physique athletes often lack balance but Matt was very well put together, with a nice full chest and a healthy look that catapulted him to first place.

Kishan Patel, last year's British rookie champion, showed he was more than ready for the open classes by winning a strong up to 173 cm line-up. Kishan has a small, tight iron midsection and a nice taper.

The junior top three was all quality. Matthew Joyce in third had good size and hardness but presented a little too much like a bodybuilder. Runner-up Kleris Zoga showed at last year's Sugar Classic that he has a quality shape but he wasn't quite as conditioned this time. Ficioru Daniel, who took the title, brought clean lines and shreds.

Not many muscular men's physique competitors have as much potential as Kadan Bogie. Kadan is tall and still a little raw but he totally looks the part, with a wonderfully symmetrical wide shape, fresh good looks and nice relaxed posing.

RESULTS

Junior Bodybuilding

1 Gabriel Loftus

2 Mitchell Turley


Junior Bikini Fitness

1 Sophie Gallagher

2 Sarah Burdock


Junior Men's Physique

1 Ficioru Daniel

2 Kleris Zoga

3 Matthew Joyce

also competed: Sam Morgan, Dominic Hardcaith and Elijah Hardcastle


Wellness

1 Stefanie Griffin

2 Karin Pienaar

3 Ella Cole

also competed: Polina Hubavensk, Oksana Markova, Karolina Lopusinska and Ludmila Ribakova


Masters Bodybuilding over 40

1 Keith Nimo


Masters Bodybuilding over 50

1 Lazaro Almenares


Masters Men's Physique

1 Francisco Rocha

2 Dave Walters

3 Liam Gol

also competed: Walter Rajah


Masters Bikini Fitness

1 Becky Goodall

2 Christina Ingham

3 Anna Jarvis

also competed: Martine Warmann and Evelina Krapane


Masters Bodyfitness

1 Clare Kehoe

2 Leanne Dix


Classic Bodybuilding

1 Mensah Oteh

2 Mo Abosediq


Bodyfitness

1 Clare Kehoe

2 Leanne Dix

3 Francesco Auditano


Bodybuilding up to 80 kg

1 Lazaro Almenares

2 Jonathan Whitehead

3 Sword Almashan


Bodybuilding up to 90 kg

1 Vytautas Elmonas

2 Lukask Tomaszeuski

3 Kamil Dzierzanowski


Bodybuilding over 90 kg

1 Keith Nimo


Classic Physique

1 Donatas Kusleika

2 Lee Hersey


Bikini Fitness up to 164 cm

1 Sophie Gallagher

2 Martyna Derlat

3 Viktorija Ruminaviciute

also competed: Heather Smith, Katherine Dyer, Ruslana Tobieva, Lauren Ashley and Sarah Burdock


Bikini Fitness up to 169 cm

1 Lisa-Marie Graham

2 Bridget Foster

3 Natalia Moczulajtys

also competed: Melissa Teacy


Bikini Fitness over 169 cm

1 Tereza Sukova

2 Becky Goodall

3 Anna Jarvis

also competed: Chloe Demaret


Muscular Men's Physique

1 Kadan Bogie

2 Artur Sztmangiq


Men's Physique up to 173 cm

1 Kishan Patel

2 Naz Ezeonyebuchi

3 Kleris Zoga

also competed: Robert Ramplin, Elijah Hardcastle, Joshua Hill and Joshua Ajibola


Men's Physique up to 179 cm

1 Francisco Rocha

2 Mohammad Alizadeh

3 Abdulrahman Aloumi

also competed: Franko Ortsel, Chris Ritchens, Dave Walters, Dominic Hardcastle, Sami Tertar and Kamil Wal


Men's Physique over 179 cm

1 Matt Pilmoor

2 Alexandru Petculescu

3 Christopher Barton

also competed: Tomas Tiebar and Arkadiusz Waszak