In USA this event would be called the NATIONALS for men and women. It is the culmination of all the British area qualification events for the year to crown the various class champions and to offer pro cards to the top men and women.
Held in Nottingham before a large audience, it is a huge event with over 100 competitors in 12 classes. They include Juniors under 21, Men’s First Timers, Men’s Masters over 40, Fitness, Intermediate Men under and over 80 kgs, 3 women’s classes and 4 men’s open classes.
Our camera team of Tina, Colin Johnson, Clive Jaques and myself had a long day with prejudging starting at 10am, then a short break before the evening finals commenced.
Guest stars were top British pros ERNIE TAYLOR and JOHN HODGSON. They were in top shape with John being razor sharp. Both would be competing in the English Grand Prix a few weeks later. Ernie’s routine was a series of arm poses to display his massive arms in a variety of rapid fire arm shots. He is an awesome sight! Expect to see him in the Olympia again in 2002.
Now to a few words about those who most impressed me. JOHN ROBERTS in the Men’s Masters has a wonderful physique that could still win open class titles. BAZ BARDSLEY was not far behind in 2nd place . Junior winner DEAN LESIAK has fantastic potential and watch for this name in the future.
MARK MOXON, winner of the Intermediate under 80kgs class had the loudest cheer squad of anyone. He is lean in the Zane mould with fantastic abs and great condition. One to watch out for when he adds size and maturity.
JASON CARTER proudly accepted his pro card as winner of the Under 70kgs class. He was ripped, symmetrical and had a great routine, but he will find it hard up against the seasoned pros.
MARK HARRIS was a sensational Under 80kgs winner and went on to become the 2nd middleweight in a row to win the overall Britain title. From the moment Mark came out on stage for round 1, I felt he would be the man to beat for the overall, as his condition was 100% shredded, with a sensational back, hams, glutes, abs – the whole package was perfect. As KERRY KAYES said, “he was the man!” Mark comes from Wales and also made his pro debut in the English Grand Prix several weeks later.
LEE POWELL took out the Under 90 kgs class with his big, chunky physique. He is noted for his huge arms. He narrowly edged out SCOTT GLEDHILL who was awarded “Best Presentation” for his immaculate posing. Scott and Lee are both young and will make great improvements over the next couple of years.
SIMON COHEN won the big boys class, over 90 kgs. Simon is a former winner of the Amateur Mr Universe title and has been chasing a pro card for some time. Today was the day as he edged out massive young ZACK KHAN of the huge split biceps frame. 3rd was the elegant, hard and shapely HAROLD MARILLIER. I have seen Simon a little harder than he was today, leaving the door open for MARK HARRIS’ well deserved overall victory. Blind RICKY WELLING deserves a special mention for his 4th place as I felt he probably deserved top 3 with his massive rock hard physique. Ricky has to be led on stage as he is totally blind. But his physique, courage and determination are exceptional as you will see from the video. He is an inspiration to all.
For some strange reason VANESSA BODDEY ( what a great name for a woman!) was the only fitness competitor. I don’t know what has happened with this class as the numbers were also down this year in the Fitness Olympia. Vanessa looked great but her routine still needs work for her pro debut.
The 3 class winners from the women’s division were ANGELA THACKERAY, DAWN SUTHERLAND and in the over 57kgs class, KAREN CAMERON (MRS. MARILLIER). Karen was also the overall winner with the necessary package of size, hardness and great condition. She also had a great routine. The ever popular DAWN SUTHERLAND now has a British title and this glamorous lady has competed at this event in Fitness and also in all 3 weight classes over the years. She is a fantastic poser with a gift few possess for posing improvisation. I have never seen her do the same routine twice, making her a very popular guest star. At last she has her well deserved Pro Card.
At the end of proceedings I jumped on stage to do the interviews for Julian Feinstein with some of the winners, as our taping of the event will be shown soon on UK SKY TV. Thus ended a long, exhausting but satisfying day. Our special thanks to event promoters Bill and Wanda Tierney for their help and support throughout. The full results are listed in our RESULTS section.