By John Plummer
Photography by Kevin Horton
Four UK athletes will be among about 1,000 in Spain this weekend for the IFBB European Championships.
Lisa Marie Graham, Stefanie Griffin, Kishan Patel and Francisco Rocha have had their expenses, including the cost of their flights and hotels, covered by the UKBFF in recognition of the fact that they are representing their country at one of the biggest events of the year.
Held over four days in Santa Susanna, Spain, the European Championships brings together competitors from 45 countries.
The top six in each category will win points towards this year's $300,000 IFBB World Ranking.
Because of the depth and quality of opposition, medals and points will be hard to come by. Whatever happens, the UK team will have the satisfaction of knowing they battled it out against the best on the continent in the premier global sports federation for bodybuilding and fitness.
All four were winners at this year's UK Nationals.
Bikini fitness star Lisa Marie and men's physique competitor Francisco are no strangers to major international IFBB events and have enjoyed tremendous success at home and abroad over the last 12 months.
This will be a new experience for Stefanie and Kishan – but one they've richly deserved.
Wellness athlete Stefanie won the last show of last season – the Sugar Classic – as well as the first of this year – the UK Nationals.
Kishan followed up his victory in the men's physique rookie class at last year's British Championships with success in the open line-up at the UK Nationals.
Good luck to all of the UK team!
This is the start of a busy international fortnight that also includes the $25,000 IFBB Elite Pro Portugal next weekend followed by the $90,000 Arnold Classic Africa from 17 to 19 May.
Domestically, the South Coast Championships in Brighton on 12 May will see competitors battle for places at the UKBFF British Championships.