On the 28th July Ukraine played host to the World’s Strongest Man competition for athletes under 105kg. Organised by Strongman Champion’s League it has historically had a less than white reputation, with many athletes complaining of last minute changes and suspect scoring. However, this year saw Giants’ Live (the promotors of the World’s Strongest Man qualifying tour) being welcomed onboard and the introduction of an external referee in the form of WSM organiser Colin Bryce. Reports we’ve read so far suggest the competition was a lot more professional – off to a good start then!
Each of the 13 athletes had gone through their countries’ respective qualifying procedures (or at least sufficiently impressed the right people!) to get an invite. The line up was as follows:
- Sean Demarinis (USA)
- Johnny Wascizco (USA)
- Marcin Sendwicki (Poland)
- Topi Frifeldt (Finland)
- Oliver Erdmann (Germany)
- Oleksandr Krivchenkov (Ukraine)
- Valeriy Gasaev (Ukraine)
- Daulusus Ziminskas (Lithuania)
- Vidar Dae Vikoyr (Norwegian)
- Ben Kelsey (UK)
- Alan Variku (Estonia)
- László Bíró (Hungary)
- Mikhail Hodyakov (Ukraine)
Event 1 – 370kg yoke for 20m
The course was uneven and on grass but that didn’t stop most of the competitors finishing the course in very respectable times. Ben Kelsey of the UK managed to secure victory in event one with a lightning fast time of 10.69 seconds. The Pole, Marcin Sendwicki, secured third in a time of 14.49 seconds.
Event 2 – 85kg dumbbell for reps (60 seconds)
The Pole was convincingly dominate in this event with a fantastic eight repetitions. Second place saw six reps with several athletes tied for third with five reps. With the dumbbell not far from the bodyweight of these competitors even one repetition is a huge achievement.
Event 3 – Conan’s wheel (375kg)
Once again, the Pole demonstrated his calibre with a victory in Conan’s wheel, managing almost three complete revolutions. The Englishman Ben Kelsey was close behind with ~2.75 revolutions. By the end of this event the Pole had a 3.5 point lead over the Englishman.
Event 4 – Arm over arm sled pull (400kg)
This was a heavy arm over arm. So heavy in fact that none of the competitors had managed to complete the whole course, with everyone scoring a distance rather than a time. The ground was uneven and the rope elasticated, making for a very difficult event. The pull was head to head and it was overall first and second – the Englishman and the Pole – last to go. Ben managed to make good progress on the pull, quickly exceeding the distance anyone had managed before him. Marcin struggled, with the sled proving very difficult to pull on the uneven surface. Ben managed 5 metres before calling it a day having seen Marcin stuck several metres behind him. Marcin finished in 9th and lost his overall lead to Ben.
Event 5 – Car squat (310kg)
The competition saw a cut in athletes from 13 to 8 at this point, with the strongmen lined up – again, head to head – in order of their overall scores. The first three pairings of athletes managed between two and 12 repetitions – no mean feat on a squat billed as 310kg. Once more, the rivals and leaders, Ben and Marcin, stepped up to the plate. Ben powered into the lead with a comfortable looking 16 repetitions. Looking over to his rival, who had been squatting at a more steady pace, Ben seemingly decided to save himself with 20 seconds still left to go. Marcin however still had Ben’s 16 reps in sight and a battle to the whistle saw him draw for first place. In the heat of the moment Ben had given a potentially crucial victory away.
Event 6 – Medley (Frame carry, duck walk and tyre flip)
With the last two to go only one of the six athletes had managed to complete the course. The frame was wide, heavy and had fat handles. With most of the strongman having exhausted their grip on the arm over arm it was proving to be a very difficult event. The Englishman and the Pole both put in heroic efforts with the Englishman cramping at every step and having to drop and reset and the Pole tearing the calluses of his hand and covering the handles in blood. But it was Ben, the Englishman, that managed to do enough to secure his victory and earn the title of World’s Strongest Man under 105kg. The Pole fought on but his performance, hindered by his 9th place finish in arm-over-arm, saw him lose out on silver to the Ukrainian and, after a day in the top two, finished with bronze in third.
- Ben Kelsey (UK)
- Alex Krivchenkov (Ukraine)
- Marcin Sendwicki (Poland)