2003 Menlyn Park

Junior City Council Strongman Competition

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, 8 November 2003

I was recently invited to compete in a strongman competition that was held at the Menlyn Shopping Mall in Pretoria, South Africa. This was a local-level competition hosted by the Pretoria Junior City Council as one of their community projects and was organised by Mr. Chris Batts, who specialises in developing the sport of strongman amongst young athletes and high school pupils. As a result, the competition was split into two parts, the first half being for the school guys and the afternoon competition for us senior guys. I have to congratulate Chris on a superb effort and it is really nice to see depth of numbers and raw talent that is being nurtured through his efforts.

Although I was present during a large part of the high-school competition, I'll be concentrating this article on the afternoon's senior competition. Oh yeah, before I go on, I have to thank Menlyn Park Shopping Mall in Pretoria for supplying the fantastic venue in the form of their Events Arena, which is actually on the roof of this world-class mall. Also, thanks to Jan, Colleen and the crew of the Agfa Image Center (which also resides inside the Menlyn Mall) for snapping the pictures.

The day's senior competition was once again mostly aimed at getting new talent involved in the sport. The only really experienced guys who competed were Johan Kelder and myself. Then, two very promising upcoming juniors also competed namely Driko Henningse and Willem Moore, the latter whom I am raising by hand, so to speak, by being his coach. Willem is only 19 years old. As for the other guys, many of them were showing lots of promise and I'll be watching their progress with interest in the coming years. Due to the nature of this competition, it was not sanctioned by the SASU (South African Strongman Union).

Here's a picture of all the athletes that competed in the senior competition:

From left is Jerry de Bruin, Trichardt Smith, Pieter Theron, Eugene Wessels, Johan Kelder, Driko Henningse, Willem Moore, myself and Garnett Lindsay. The guy right in front is Chris Batts who organised the whole event. The ladies and the two other gents are members of the 2003 Pretoria Junior City Council (a high-school community development organisation).


A rising bar system was used with the bare steel log weighing something like 70kg (154 lb), which was very light indeed. Weight was progressively added and a failure at any weight meant disqualification. Most of the guys were quite new to log lifting and managed to lock out in the 100kg to 110 kg range. My young training partner, Willem Moore, managed a very respectable PR of 125 kg (275 lb) and I must say that his technique really is starting to look impressive. Seems like the hard training is paying off.

Johan Kelder and myself made progressive jumps of 10kg and later 5kg and we both decided to call it a day after successfully locking out 150 kg (330 lb). Now, I must admit that I had my doubts about how accurate the indicated weight of the bare log was. It felt really light for something supposed to weigh 70 kg but Driko (who made the log) assured me that he weighed it himself. If so, I'm really happy with my performance here as my previous competition best was 140kg (310 lb) in the log. The last thing I wanted was a repeat of my loglift fiasco at the Nationals in October so I did train the log a lot lately so who knows?

 Here's some random log lift shots. Click on the thumbnails for full-size images.

Me on my 90kg opening attempt, getting a feel for the log My 110kg lift
Me on 120kg Me on 140kg
Driko opening with 90kg Driko on 100kg
Eugene opening on 90kg Garnett's first attempt on 90kg
Garnett locking out 100kg Garnett fighting 110kg
Garnett psyching up for his attempt at 120kg Jerry locking out a comfortable 90kg
Jerry finishing 100kg Jerry beating 110kg
Jerry attempting 120kg with Driko shouting encouragement Johan smiling for the camera at 110kg
Johan doing a very easy 120kg Johan on 140kg with me spotting
Pieter opening on 90kg Pieter extending a 100kg
Pieter fighting the 110kg log Pieter just missing 110kg after a hard fight
Trichardt busy stabilising 100kg Trichardt beating 110kg
Willem extending 100kg Willem finished with the 110kg log
Willem completing a lifetime-best 125kg    

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Page last updated 23 December 2003