THREE UK ATHLETES EARN IFBB ELITE PRO CARDS

by John Plummer

Three leading UKBFF athletes are contemplating whether to turn pro after an unprecedented weekend of international success.

Bikini fitness athletes Bridget Foster and Lisa-Marie Graham earned the opportunity to apply for their IFBB Elite Pro cards at the $90,000 Arnold Classic Africa, which attracted 300 competitors to Johannesburg.

It was a particularly stunning result for Bridget, who won the up to 163cm height class and the overall.

Lisa-Marie, who has won numerous trophies worldwide over the last year, won her height class and finished third in the overall, and also topped a 17-strong master bikini line-up.

While all this was going on, Olga Upelniece won the open bodyfitness class at the Diamond Cup in Hungary.

Olga Upelniece, pictured at last week’s South Coast Championships. Photo by Kevin Horton.

Olga Upelniece, pictured at last week’s South Coast Championships. Photo by Kevin Horton.

All three now face a big decision on whether to turn pro or continue in the amateurs.

If they continue as amateurs they can win points towards the $300,000 IFBB World Ranking, compete in Arnold Classics, Diamond Cups, the World Championships and the European Championships so it's not as as straightforward as it may seem.

The next generation of UK talent flexed its muscles in South Africa.

Mariana Semchii took a terrific silver medal in bikini fitness up to 166cm. There was also a medal for Abdulrahman Aloumi, who won bronze in men's physique up to 178 cm.

In junior bikini fitness, Paige Rebecca and Sarah Burdock finished third and fifth respectively.

In the 160cm height class, Dionne White, Paige Rebecca and Sarah Burdock were fourth, fifth and seventh respectively.

Our pros, however, found the going tough: Andrea Corbett was seventh on her pro debut in women's physique. Ade Bishop was eighth in the same class.

Paul Harris was 13th in classic physique, the same position Alaura Galeru achieved in wellness.

Mahmoud Elmawardy, who has already qualified for this year's IFBB Pro World Championships, did not make the top 10 in the 22-strong men's physique line-up.

Well done to all the UK athletes.