2003 South African Strongman Championships

Upington, Northern Cape, 3 & 4 October 2003

The finals of the 2003 South African Strongman Championships took place at the Eiland resort in Upington, Northern Cape, early in October 2003. A total of eleven guys qualified for this event during the trials which took place during June 2003 in Pretoria. Unfortunately Malone Horn, who won the qualifying round and who was a firm favourite to win this competition, could not attend due to a bicep tear which he sustained during the IFSA World Strongest Man competition held in Zambia during September. It's really sad that Malone could not be there but I guess it'll make him all the more determined to win next year. I was asked to compete in his place and I'm thankful for the opportunity to compete against such a talented bunch of guys.

Here's the starting lineup in no particular order:

Andre du Preez Windhoek, Namibia
Hennie Jordaan Potgietersrus, Northern Province
Johan van Huyssteen Pretoria, Gauteng
David Cooks East Rand, Gauteng
Gerhard Botha George, Eastern Cape
Etienne Smit Pretoria, Gauteng
Pieter Appelcryn Pretoria, Gauteng
Stephan Claassen East Rand, Gauteng
Rohan Cronje Kimberley, Northern Cape
Gys Smit Kimberley, Northern Cape
Arno Lambrechts Pretoria, Gauteng

The competition was split over two days with the first three events on Friday the 3rd and the final three events on Saturday the 4th. Here's my brief analysis of the competition, starting with the first event:


Each competitor was given three attempts, just like in a powerlifting competition using a rising bar system. The log we used was a steel pipe with fixtures on the sides for loading additional weights. It weighed 125kg dry and was probably the longest log I've ever seen!


Here's a graph showing the final result:

Gerhard was without a doubt king of the log with a very impressive 155kg attempt.

Stephan, who is a known log specialist, was also in very good form. Dave Cooks could definitely have improved on his 145kg attempt, as he locked out a 150kg very easily but failed to stabilise his stance. I think the surprise performance must be that of Pieter, who has always battled with the log. His technique is looking very impressive and allowed him to get an easy 140kg. Etienne was still battling with nagging delt injuries and came in at a disappointing 130kg.

So what did I do? Uum? I don't know, actually! I just managed to smack myself on the back of the head with 140kg! I have not trained log for probably a year or so and was battling to roll the bar up to shoulder height. I was quite tired when I eventually got it up. The lockout actually felt quite easy but just before fully extending my arms I must have blacked out for a short while. Next thing I knew I was lying on my back with people staring down at me! Luckily I was not bleeding or seriously hurt. The swelling is still evident as I'm writing this, though.

Here's the points breakdown after the log lift.

As you can see, the top guys already rose to the front, save for Etienne, who had a lot of catching up to do. I was effectively out of the running for a good placing already.

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

Gys preparing for his first attempt at 125kg Gys locking out his 125kg log
Etienne with 125kg Andre on 125kg
Me halfway through my 130kg opener Me locking out 130kg
Gys locking out 130kg Rohan on 130kg
Pieter on 130kg YMCA-style Etienne after finishing 130kg
Johan preparing for 130kg Johan locking out 130kg
Andre successful on 130kg Gys busy on 135kg
Gys finished with 135kg Stefan on 135kg
Dave busy with 140kg Hennie with 135kg on his knees
Hennie completes 135kg Rohan finishing an impressive 140kg

Click here to continue on to the Farmer's Walk.

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For comments or feedback please email bigarnie@bigarnie.co.za

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Page last updated 10 October 2003