GMV Home Page  
Articles and Reviews > Waynes Hard News > Wayne's Hard News - 2009 NABBA Universe Report by Wayne Gallasch, GMV.
Wayne's Hard News - 2009 NABBA Universe Report by Wayne Gallasch, GMV.

Wayne's Hard News - 2009 NABBA Universe Report by Wayne Gallasch, GMV.

The UK run Mr. Universe is the world's longest running international bodybuilding contest. It all started back in 1948 in London with John Grimek winning, then it came back again in 1950 under the NABBA banner and has gone from strength to strength run by NABBA ever since. Many famous people in the sport have won the title from Reeves, Park and Pearl to the current California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who won it four years in a row from 1967 to 1970.
This year the event was hosted again in Southport, in the current home of UK NABBA bodybuilding, at the Floral Hall and Theatre. This venue seems to be the perfect size for the audience and is very popular with most people I spoke to.
At the beginning of the show, Nigel Gordon-Rae, along with the NABBA Council, paid a special tribute to IVAN DUNBAR who passed away earlier this year. Ivan’s whole life had been devoted to NABBA, and furthering the cause of NABBA, and he was the only person who had attended every single Universe from 1948 to 2008 inclusive. He will be greatly missed by all of us.

As usual I will start with my thoughts on the Men’s Classes followed by my comments on the Women’s Classes.

“Latvia's bodybuilding star Aivars Visockis wins Mr. Universe title in the Masters Over 50 Class” was the newspaper headline in Latvia! It was a first for Latvia and for Latvia's award-winning bodybuilder AIVARS VISOCKIS who won the prestigious Mr. Universe title in the senior Masters Class - Over 50.  52-year-old Visockis earned a clear victory over the little Aussie battler from down under, SAM IOANNIDIS.  Sam won his short open Class 3 in 1986. In 3rd place was the outstanding physique of HUGH ROSS of USA.
The Visockis' victory is the highest achievement in the history of bodybuilding in Latvia. It was the sixth time that Visockis has participated in the Mr. Universe contest. He is a vastly experienced bodybuilder with achievements that include participation in the Masters Olympia. He is one of the little known European stars of the 2009  event.

I say it every year, and this was no exception with a depth and quality that was truly incredible. I know I say this almost every year, but it’s absolutely true.  The top 3 or 4 guys could all have placed in the open classes. Take JASON CORRICK who was 2nd. Jason is a former Universe Class winner and long time top level bodybuilder. Such was the quality of the opposition 2nd was a fair placing.
With last year’s winner NORTOM JAMES MURAYAMA of Brazil in such amazing shape, he made it 3 wins on the trot in this class. It was no surprise with his near faultless physique. I wonder how long he will go on retaining this title!
These 2 champions in the top two places did not detracted from the brilliant but lesser known physique of PAVLO ZELENKO from Ukraine, another star from Eastern Europe.

The Junior Class seemed to be down a fraction this year compared to some years. There were 8 competitors with South Africa dominating taking first and second place trophies. I am certain this was another first for South Africa. The winner was the very symmetrical BONGANI MYAKA with JULIAN RAMDHARI in second place.

UK’s PHILIP GRAHAM just missed out on 3rd place which went to the young Aussie from Western Australia DANE IVICEVIC. Dane shows huge potential with his great shape and good lines and with a little more muscularity could have won this class.
MARILANDIO PONCHET of Brazil is on a winning streak in Class 4 winning it for the third year in a row. Although he is qualified to compete in the Over 40 Masters Class, why should he! Especially as he received straight firsts from every judge! What the class lacked in quantity it more than made up for in quality with Brazil taking the top 3 positions.
In second place was recent Mr. World winner LEANDRO REBELO with a classic refined and defined physique. Sort of a mini Frank Zane. In 3rd place and not as far behind him as some may think was the more massive LUIZ FERNANDO SARDINHA. He had a huge upper body, and with legs to match he should place higher next year, all being well. He has the genetics to take this class with fine tuning of his minor weaknesses

In 4th place it was the smiling Dutchman JERRY KOOLHOVEN. Jerry looked great when posing, or standing tensed but his abs let him down a fraction this time when he relaxed them.

This class was won by another Eastern European star in the form of the brilliant ZOLTAN TOTH from Hungary. I was not at all familiar with Zoltan, although he told me later he has won many titles in various federations. He was a real surprise packet with his wonderful symmetry, great size, incredible rock hard condition and in my opinion, the best posing routine of the contest.

Zoltan did not have it all his own way as UK’s SHANE COPLEY was not very far behind. Shane has a great physique, big, full round muscle-bellies that mark him as a future winner of the class. Watch out for Shane in the next NABBA Britain if he enters in 2010!
Not far behind Shane was GILBERT CUSCHIERI from Malta. He presented a very symmetrical package of size, shape and definition, the key elements of successful bodybuilding. I liked his physique and posing routine, and with steady improvement Gilbert has the ability to win this class.

This year it was the toughest class of the contest, with 17 great competitors including the Overall Winner of the Amateur Universe. The winner was an amazing champion with a “freaky” physique in the form of MARTIN KASAL from the Czech Republic. I recall Martin winning this class in Malta at the 2007 NABBA Worlds when he looked equally as freaky but where he did not win Overall, as that day it was Marilandio Ponchet who took the Overall title.
Martin had size, amazing muscularity, incredible arms and shoulders, ripped legs that were the best, and he was “sliced and diced” to perfection. Not much more I can say.

In second place was the excellent physique of MIHA ZUPAN from Slovenia, being part of the very strong team from that small country. In 3rd place was DAVE GUEST from UK with a very good physique that only suffered by coming up against one of the greatest physiques in the world – on his day. Very close behind Dave was ANDREW PINNOCK in 4th place.

The tall guys usually come out last on stage in the late afternoon’s prejudging when some fans are starting to wilt a little. There was no wilting or leaving the hall when this class came out on stage. The excitement level rose a notch or two with current NABBA Britain winner DAVE TITTERTON a real stand-out in this class. I should say dominating this class. If anything he was  leaner and tighter than his condition he brought to Southport when he won the Britain back on May 30th this year. He won again with a clear cut victory over UK’s BRIAN McAREAVEY. Brian is no slouch in top level competition, but could not match the charisma, great definition and size that Dave presented on stage. The audience simply loved him.

In 3rd place it was another top star from the Czech Republic in PAVEL VACEK, up from 5th place last year. Pavel’s physique was one of quality in all areas, which is what we have come to expect from the Czech physiques. They seem to have a very strong gene pool in their small country! Not far behind in 4th place was the massive WALTER LETTNER from Austria. Walter has a brutal “scary” type of physique, sort of in the mould of a Markus Ruehl.

The Overall Amateur Mr. Universe title was as usual, decided at the end of the evening show. I saw it unfolding during the class winner’s posedown as a clear cut decision to MARTIN KASAL. I felt that the next best physique, in my opinion, was ZOLTAN TOTH, just a notch in front of DAVE TITTERTON.  As it turned out, Martin Kasal was the Overall NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe winner for 2009. A truly worthy champion.

There were 8 in this class made up of competitors from UK, Russia, Holland, Ukraine, Spain and the Czech Republic. It was soon obvious that the main competition lay between 3 totally different physiques. They were the smiling bobble-headed Russian, ALEXEY NETESANOV, PAUL “Mr. Abs” SUTTON from UK, and PETR VANIS from the Czech Republic. The odd thing about Petr is that he seemed to look better the longer the show progressed. At the time of the Prejudging he did seem a fraction smooth when is certain poses, compared to Netesanov. However by the time of the winning class photos, Petr seemed to look harder and better than Alexey!
Paul Sutton is always totally professional in his preparation and presentation and did not suffer in quality against these other two top Europeans. I thought he out-posed both of them. Just behind Paul was Scotland’s MIKE O’HANLON, also looking very sharp.
The smiling Russian rightfully had his big moment of glory in taking out this his first Overall NABBA Universe title – The Professional Crown.


When KATH MULLEN first walked out on stage, super confident, aggressive and in incredible shape, I thought we were all looking at the winner. Then I noticed DORA RODRIGUES, whose number happened to be #1, standing in the darker part on the left side of the stage. My opinion soon changed once she stood centre stage. Dora had a wonderful package of style, shape and size along with a great back and V-shape combination. It proved the difference with Kath having to settle for second place this time.
In 3rd place was an Italian bundle of dynamite by the name of FEDERICA ORTU. Boy did she give it everything from the way she hit her compulsories to her posing routine and overall presentation. She has the style and determination to be a future winner. This was a VERY tough class. The outstanding figure of VIVIANE SANTOS from Brazil had to settle for 4th place in 2009.

The winner of this class was another first-timer in an International event, namely ANNE-MARIE LASSERRE from Queensland, Australia.  Anne-Marie was too sharp for 2nd placed Russian MARIA KUZMINA who had placed 4th in this class in 2008. Kuzmina looked remarkably similar to the 2008 Overall Winner Maria Stukova - also from Russia, hence my confusion thinking she had married and changed her name this year!

Maria had perfect shape and symmetry but her condition was a bit soft compared to Lasserre, and it cost her first place. Anne-Marie was the clear winner, but only a few points in front of Maria who looked absolutely great, had a wonder V-shape and posed with all the poise of a champion. Anne-Marie is tall, lithe, graceful, and with abs that were unbelievable. Her condition was the best of the whole Figure Class.

In 3rd place was the shredded IRA MAYAN from Israel who still displayed the same problem as last year when she placed 2nd, that problem being a weakness in leg size and symmetry. Naturally she was disappointed with her placing - which, however was totally correct.

It was a hard fought battle between the more experienced DORA RODRIGUES from Brazil and ANNE-MARIE LASSERE from Australia.  I felt that Dora had an edge in back poses and overall shape and symmetry, while Anne-Marie was a clear winner on condition and glamour, not that glamour is necessarily being judged!.
It turned out to be no huge surprise when Dora Rodrigues was announce as the Overall Universe Miss Figure Winner for 2009. Dora was also the 2008 NABBA World Overall Figure Winner.

This class was a revelation in 2009 with so many competitors. In a very good development, it saw the encouraging of women who are basically too large for Figure - back into the Physique Class. 17 excellent competitors came on stage to give the judges a serious headache this time. It was an exciting battle between Brazil and UK with the effervescent and well muscled LARISSA CUNHA from Brazil having too many guns for the attractive and symmetrical LISA CROSS from UK. Larissa was a bit more extreme in her development and had better condition such that she was a worthy winner.
In 3rd place was the difficult name for poor Nigel to pronounce - from Ukraine, namely VALENTYNA YEFYMCHUK. The Spanish bodybuilder SONIA CABRE placed 4th.

One again my special thanks to all of the hard working NABBA officials from Chairman Bryan Robinson, to Val and Jim Charles, Paul Jeffreys, plus Mike Vaughan and  Eddie Ellwood who always assist me with the video equipment. Special thanks to Tina for my photos. Last but not least a special thanks to the two major sponsors who were CNP Professional and LA
Getting the spelling 100% correct on all of the competitor’s names is a near impossibility. To contact me with any comments, name corrections, or to order the separate Universe DVDs, please email me at
For a complete set of 2009 NABBA UNIVERSE RESULTS listing every competitor, see below. For info on the Universe DVDs, see thumbnail at the bottom of the RESULTS which leads to full info on each DVD.

Southport, England   24th October, 2009

Masters Over 40
1. Nortom James Murayama - Brazil 
2. Jason Corrick - UK
3. Pavlo Zelenko - Ukraine
4. Christian Klee - Austria
5. Shaun Watson - UK
6. Marco Parisi - Italy
Stefano Greco - Italy
Lurii Molochek - Ukraine
David Ray - UK
Brian Crossan - UK
Tomas Sroler - Czech Rep.
Evgeny Petrov - Russia
Andrew Binch - UK
Swen Meyerholt - Germany
Petri Raatikainen - Finland
Vadim Zakharov - Russia
Denis Browne - Rep. of Ireland
Thierry Bidault - France
Igor Sluisarenko - Ukraine

Masters Over 50
1. Aivars Visockis - Latvia
2. Sam Ioannidis - Australia
3. Hugh Ross - U.S.A.
4. David Steele - UK
5. Derek Jones - UK
6. Luiz Flavio Felicio - Brazil
David Steca - UK
Patrick Collard - UK
Brad McMillan - Australia
Samson Perumal - South Africa
Herbie Chiang - UK
Grant McDonald - South Africa
Robert Turner - UK
Sergei Mishchenko - Israel
Wally Matthews - Australia
Renato Somenzi - Sweden

1. Bongani Myaka - South Africa
2. Julian Ramdhari - South Africa
3. Dane Ivicevic - Australia
4. Philip Graham - UK
5. Ernestas Grigaitis - Lithuania
6. Chris Walsh - UK
Kirils Dobrovolskis - Latvia
Daniel Barry - UK

Mr Class 4
1. Marilandio Ponchet - Brazil
2. Leandro Rebelo - Brazil
3. Luiz Fernando Sardinha - Brazil
4. Jerry Koolhoven - Holland
5. Pompilio Aguilar - Honduras
6. Gary Hutton - UK
7. David Garcia - Mexico
8. Adrian Birchall - UK

Mr Class 3
1. Zoltan Toth - Hungary
2. Shane Copley - UK
3. Gilbert Cushieri - Malta
4. Dominique Verney - France
5. Anthony Bailes - UK
6. Aleksey Shaykin - Russia
Bradley Burrows - UK
Fabrice Radkowski - France
Joerg Fuchs - Germany
Nick Ranelli - Australia
Zane Brophy - Australia
Matt Chaddock - UK
Katsuya Yoshida - Japan
Carlos Caruana - Malta
Leigh Ellis - Australia
Michal Puchek - Slovakia
Aleksy Shaykin - Russia
Wayne Keene - UK

Mr Class 2
1. Martin Kasal - Czech Rep.
2. Miha Zupan - Slovenia
3. Dave Guest- UK
4. Andrew Pinnock - UK
5. Regi Gill - Holland
6. Justin Wessels - Australia
Anastasios Minidis - Greece
Michael Zimmermann - Austria
Darren Borg - Malta
Sam Cullingworth - U.K.
Gerald Lopez - France
Giedrius Gailiunas - Lithuania
Olivier Moestus - France
David Kirwin - Australia
Cathal Tiernan - Rep. of Ireland
Julian Hamilton - Australia
Janis Visockis - Latvia

Mr Class 1
1. Dave Titterton - UK
2. Brian McAreavey - UK
3. Pavel Vacek - Czech Rep.
4. Walter Lettner - Austria
5. Lukas Gabris - UK
6. Stas Strosberg - Israel
Aram Melixetyan - Russia
Roberto Morando - Australia
Nicolas Adametz - Austria
Loughlin Gannon - Rep. of Ireland
James Braddock - UK
Saiid Tejanpkamara - USA
Robert Smutny - Czech Rep.
Andre Santos - Brazil
Gundars Asmanis - Latvia
Andy Jamieson - UK
Maik Waltenberg - Germany
Ralf Brzoska - Rep. of Ireland

1. Alexey Netesanov - Russia
2. Petr Vanis - Czech Rep.
3. Paul Sutton - UK
4. Mike O’Hanlon - Scotland
5. Luis Antonio Vidal - Spain
6. Mike King - UK
7. Steven de Windt – Holland
8. Yuriy Kovalov - Ukraine

Overall NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe: Martin Kasal - Czech Republic

Miss Figure Class 2
1. Dora Rodrigues - Brazil
2. Kathryn Mullen - U.K
3. Federica Ortu - Italy
4. Viviane Santos - Brazil
5. Flora Conte - Italy
6. Enza Cordio - Italy
Vanessa Sewell - UK
Gina Ford - UK
Ineta Rijniece - Latvia
Lilian Okubo - Brazil
Terri Roberts - Australia
Marie Falzon - Malta

Miss Figure Class 1
1. Anne-Marie Lasserre - Australia
2. Maria Kuzmina - Russia
3. Ira Mayan - Israel
4. Lidia Miralpeix - Spain
5. Anita Vegh - U.K
6. Jody Shuttleworth - UK
Jo Sperring - UK
Olga Kourkouline - Russia
Brigitta Grof - Hungary
Ally Dowling - Rep. of Ireland
Felecia Hamilton - Australia
Kathry Clough - South Africa
Aranea Sleeman - South Africa
Danielle Findlay - UK

Miss Physique
1. Larissa Cunha - Brazil
2. Lisa Cross - UK
3. Velentyna Yefymchuk - Ukraine
4. Sonia Cabre - Spain
5. Simone Souza - Brazil
6. Caroline Gaume - France
Lily Casella - Australia
Lisa Bailey - New Zealand
Delene Watkins - South Africa
Rene Campbell - UK
Sheila Vieira - Brazil
Caroline Wang - Austria
Riana Beech - South Africa
Jeanie Ellan - UK
Jessica Ghigo - Malta
Mona Johansson - Sweden
Vera Spanevee - Israel

Overall NABBA Miss Universe Figure: Dora Rodrigues - Brazil

2009 NABBA Universe: Triple Pack – 3 Disc Set Men & Women Special Deal - Prejudging & Show                                                            

2009 NABBA Universe: Triple Pack –
3 Disc Set Men & Women
Special Deal - Prejudging & Show



Website hacked? Fix Your Hacked Website And Protect It From Hackers with SharkGate and OneHourSiteFix
Articles and Reviews
WAYNE'S HARD NEWS - Retrospective 2018 Olympia Report
Pro Men: Shawn Rhoden becomes the 14th Mr Olympia winner as he stunningly took home the top prize in 2018. Phil Heath has held the title for the last 7 years, but on the big night this year, it was not to be his record-equaling victory # 8.
Digital Video Downloads Our hottest Fitness videos ever,
now give you extra rewards!

Click Here!

No thanks

Join our newsletter!

Exclusive offers, latest releases.
Photos, videos and more.
(Ah, and we hate spam too)

No thanks