2013 Arnold Amateur Championships:
Amateur Men's Report by Andrew Michalak
Courtesy The Arnold Sports Festival.
This year’s Arnold Sport Festival was a very special edition of this event as it was the 25th anniversary of something what begun in 1989 as Arnold Classic bodybuilding show, but later on expanded and changed the name, becoming a big mass sporting event including nearly 40 sport disciplines, successful in the sport as well as economic field. Let’s look what the most prominent bodybuilding officials have said during the opening ceremony:
“It’s a privilege to share with you the 25th anniversary celebration of Arnold Sport Festival – an event that has been making monumental contribution to the expansion of the universality of sport values and principles. All this following the great leaderships and inspiration of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger” – IFBB President Dr. Rafael Santonja has said. “Special thanks to the person who makes this possible, to Mr. Jim Lorimer, IFBB Patron and the person who is behind the success of this event, together with his son Bob Lorimer, the family and the whole team that confirm this great Arnold Sport Festival” – he added. And then Dr. Santonja passed a very important news – “Next coming week we are going to participate in the Central American Games of the Olympic Program in Costa Rica”, receiving applause from the audience!
At the beginning of his speech, Governor Schwarzenegger noticed that “We’ve been organizing shows here from 1976, so for 37 years”. Arnold, as a competitor, participated in this first show, accepting invitation sent to him by Mr. James Lorimer, and it was the beginning of their so fruitful cooperation.
“We’ve started a fitness crusade and I think that our fitness crusade has paid off and is very successful. We started with 15 athletes the first year and now 20 thousand people participate in our Sport and Fitness Festival and it is the most important and the biggest fitness festival in the world” – Arnold continued, displaying his satisfaction and confidence.
“And we have almost 200 thousand people coming through our convention centers. And we have over 700 companies displaying here and contributing approximately 43 million US Dollars to the local economy and this is what we are calling an extraordinary progress. And we are creating jobs, so thank you all for a great work you are doing”. It was a short, very precise and convincing summary of their 25 years of very successful activity (or 37 years of cooperation, as Arnold said at the beginning).
And Arnold didn’t mention about their next step: creating Arnold Classic sister-events on the other continents: Europe (Madrid) and South America (Rio). Asia will follow soon. Amateur competitors from South and Central America as well as from the Caribbean region will have the next opportunity to compete at Arnolds… 8 weeks later, in Brazil. So, only a short inter-competition training cycle and the second peak.
Arnold Amateur Championships seem to be unstoppable in its year-by-year progress. Many expected that having the next Arnolds in Europe and South America the number of athletes in Columbus would decrease. It didn’t happen! Of course, some small changes in the “geography” of participation can be expected, as less number of athletes from Middle East and South Asia came this year (they had their Amateur Mr. Olympia late in November) but one new category has made a great boom: men’s physique!
Who could expect this? After being accepted by the IFBB and introduced to the IFBB Calendar of Events from the beginning of this year, the number of athletes almost doubled! Nearly one hundred! Despite the fact that two men’s physique categories were put into the schedule (up to 173 cm and over 173 cm), organizers had to add one more category: up to 180 cm (and over). If they didn’t do it, they would have 66 athletes in over 173 cm class.
Altogether, 588 amateur athletes, men and women, went through the stage, compared to 545 last year. The other most “crowded” categories were: women’s bikini fitness (178 athletes) and men’s bodybuilding (135 athletes, with masters and classics). The biggest number of international stars performed in women’s bodyfitness and men’s bodybuilding.
70 kg category: unexpectedly, the strongest line-up at this event: two former world champions: Corrado Maggiore (Italy) and Hira Lal (India) as well as European champion Marcin Kosel (Poland) and few more top international competitors. Despite his 4th place in the semifinals, Kosel improved in the finals and moved up to the 1st position, ahead of Lal and Maggiore.
75 kg category: IFBB mega-star, multi-world champion Mahmut Irmak (Turkey) against last year’s runner-up Francisco de Assis (Brazil) and new Brazilian star Marcello Correa. The battle was tough but Irmak won all rounds, the cup and the Arnold Classic jacket. Then Correa and de Assis.
80 kg category: four South American bodybuilders at the top: world finalist Randolph Naranjo (Venezuela) as a new Arnolds champion, ahead of the Brazilian star Isaquiel Balbi (life achievement), the next Brazilian Esequiel Conceicao and Jean Alfrao from Peru.
85 kg category: last year’s winner Charles Mario Soares (Brazil) was untouchable and double win for Brazil as Jorlan Vieira placed second. Moses Ajala was the only US bodybuilder finishing in the top three.
90 kg category: great debut in the IFBB of Brazilian bodybuilder Alex Dos Anjos, who received the perfect scores from the judges. The runner-up came also from South America: Raul Martinez (Venezuela), who was also the runner-up in 2012 but in the 85 kg class.
100 kg category: the second strongest category at this Arnold, with multi-world champion, World Games winner and Asian Games winner Kamal Abdul Salam of Qatar and the 2012 runner-up Oleksandr Slobodyanyuk of Ukraine. But the winner was someone else: 2008 Men’s Worlds bronze medal winner Emiliano Dell’uomo who showed fantastic body condition and muscle quality.
Over 100 kg category: in the absence of all top athletes from the last year (most of them have already turned pro), the doors will be open for new gifted champions. 2008 Arnold America participant Darren Ball (United Kingdom) returned after years and showed big progress, winning the title after the close battle (only 2 point difference) against the next German giant Paul Poloczek.
Overall: this time the overall trophy didn’t go to the super heavyweight bodybuilder. Instead, 100 kg category winner Emiliano Dell’uomo was congratulated by Arnold and received the greatest trophy (statue). Won with 6 points advantage over Darren Ball. And deserved for it!
Master men’s bodybuilding:
Two age division were run: 40-49 and over 50 years old.
- Masters 40-49: a couple of well-known IFBB international stars appeared on stage. 2012 world masters champion and Arnold Europe (masters) winner Luis Carlos Sarmento found a serious challenger: 2008 Men’s Worlds finalist Abbas Agheli from Iran. This time Agheli earned better scores from the judges and won, while Sarmento had to defend his 2nd place against the attacks of his Brazilian team-mate and 2012 NPC “Excalibur” overall master champion Marilandio Ponchet.
- Masters over 50: 2011 world champion Wolfgang Schober returned to the stage and won over the 2012 South American masters champion Geronimo Risso (Peru) and legendary Augustine Lee of Singapore.
Men’s classic bodybuilding:
This division, still not so popular in the USA, attracted 29 athletes, most of them from abroad. But the quality of athletes was very high.
- Up to 175 cm category: in his third start, following his 2nd and 5th places, Marcello Rafaelli of Brazil climbed to the top. This time he had a very demanding rival: 2012 Arnold Europe overall winner Miguel Perez of Spain and 10 more competitors.
- Up to 180 cm category: this category was dominated by the Europeans. Last year’s sensational winner Alessandro Galli of Italy came back and regained the title in a great style, displaying his razor-sharp definition everywhere but especially in glutes-hams area. He was followed by a line of international stars: Igor Rashoiants (Ukraine), Denis Maleev (Russia), Andrea Volpe (Italy) and Joel Bernini (Brazil).
- Over 180 cm category: two Classic Bodybuilding Worlds runner-ups: Adrey Lopushanskiy (Azerbaijan) and Dmitrii Krylov (Russia) but the top trophy went to a newcomer at this level: George Lukashevsky (Russia).
- Overall: Alessandro Galli with the perfect scores, then Lukashevsky and Rafaelli.
This was this division which exploded with nearly 100 competitors!
Up to 175 cm category: the longest class with 43 athletes and a very close battle among the top four. Altogether, four Brazilians in the top six and one of them, Caio Pannain, was the winner, 2 points ahead of 2012 Arnold Classic winner Rui De Brito (Portugal), who was tied with the next Brazilian Marcel Ribeiro and Canadian Wayne Chambers placed only 1 point behind them. Incredible battle!
Up to 180 cm category: 26 athletes on the stage and the opposite situation: one clear leader Tomas Klic of the Czech Republic. The second place went to the next new athlete, but it is no surprise as the whole category is new, Nick Olsen (Denmark). Third place to Vadym Ustymenko (USA).
Over 180 cm category: the number of athletes raised to 29. Two Americans at the top: Josh Bowman and Qaadir Majeed, with only one-point difference between them. Third place to 2012 Arnold Europe winner Martin Mester of the Czech Republic.
Overall: very tough combat between Tomas Klic and Josh Bowman, which brought one-point victory to Klic.