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2005 South African Strongman Championships

The Dome, Randburg

22 and 23 April 2005

sponsored by

...and...

This year's SA Strongman Championships was held over two days with the first day being a qualifying round of four events open to all athletes. The second day was the finals, where the top ten guys from the qualifying round competed in another four events for the title of South Africa's Strongest Man. The point standings after the qualifying round were carried over to the final, meaning that the events of the qualifying round contributed equally to the final score. This way, the winner was the best athlete over all eight events and not just the final four. Sounds fair to me.

This strongman competition formed part of M-Magazine's first national fitness expo called the M-Classic. This event was the first of its kind to be held in South Africa and also included a major bodybuilding show and a fitness challenge amongst others - sort of like a scaled-down Arnold Classic, I guess. Due to the fact that the Friday's competition was only the qualifying round, it was held in the parking area of The Dome and was basically not a spectator event. Saturday's final, in contract, was very well attended by spectators and was also filmed for TV broadcast.

In my humble opinion this competition, as well as the expo that it formed part of, was probably the most impressive such event ever seen in South Africa. I have to congratulate Matthew Haldenby (Giant from Gladiators-fame), the editor of M-Magazine for pulling off such an impressive feat. Well done!

Back to the plot: Out of the original 23 athletes that have entered, 19 guys showed up on qualifying day. The rest dropped out mainly due to injury. Unfortunately nobody thought of taking a group photo of all the guys that entered so this picture of some of us will have to suffice. With the exception of Malone Horn, second from left, all the guys are from the gym where I train in Pretoria - Supersport Gym. No prizes for guessing which one I am.

Here's the full starting line-up in the order that the guys drew their random starting positions. The place draw was used as the starting order for the first event. After the first event, the starting order for each event was the reverse of the overall point standings with the guy with the lowest points going first followed by everybody right up to the guy in the lead going last. I've also included a short introduction to those guys that have competed at national level before.

1 Martin Joubert Martin was competing in his first nationals. He's got a very good physique with a massive pair of arms.
2 Nico Ujdur Another guy that looks like a bodybuilder and also making his first appearance at the nationals.
3 Malone Horn If there's one guy that's truly unlucky never yet to have won the nationals it is Malone. He's got a wealth of experience including on international level. Phenomenally strong back and legs. Malone is a very well-rounded athlete and is always a potential champion. He tore his bicep at the WSM in Zambia, 2003.
4 Hennie Jordaan Part-time farmer and full-time explosives expert from the Limpopo Province, Hennie is never to be underestimated. Massive pair of legs on the man. Very good natured and well liked by everybody for his easygoing personality. He placed 9th at the 2004 Nationals.
5 Rory Scheepers Hailing from Durban, Rory has got a powerlifting background. He is coached by the guys that got me involved in the power game yonks ago, Claude Parnell. Despite being one of the smaller guys Rory is impressively built and possesses even more impressive strength. He placed 10th last year.
6 Allan Chapman Allan was making his national debut. Very big and muscular guy. Definitely someone to watch as his experience grows.
7 Johan van Huyssteen One of the most experienced guys in the field and a very consistent performer on almost any event, Johan is always a medal contender. Technically he knows the strongman events better than most. Johan also looks like he could walk onto a bodybuilding stage any day.
8 Ian le Roux Ian trains with Malone in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. He has been competing for a number of years and is perhaps handicapped by his short stature. He does make up for that genetic deficiency with very impressive brute strength. Always a potential surprise package.
9 Andre du Preez Residing in Windhoek, Namibia, Andre is technically an international competitor. Andre has got a powerlifting background and is capable of very, very respectable weights in the gym. I reckon that Andre is the most improved guy in 2005 and is definitely a future star in the making. Keep an eye on this man.
10 Willem Moore I've literally seen Willem grow up in front of me. Only 2 years ago he was still a skinny little kid. He was by far the youngest guy in the field at only 21 years. My prediction is that if Willem can remain injury-free, he is bound to become a champion in this sport. Being his training partner, I know what he is capable of.
11 Stephan Claassen Almost every time that I see Stephan he looks bigger! The man's got a massive physique, especially his upper body. Stephan basically OWNS the log lift in South Africa and the guy to beat him at that event probably still has to be born.
12 David Cooks The 2003 SA Strongest Man, Dave is currently the only guy in SA that can stand up to Ettiene Smit with a decent chance of winning. Having mastered all the strongman events ages ago, Dave is a sight to behold with his jaw-dropping physique. I have yet to see anybody run with heavy objects like this man can.
13 Driko Henningse Making his debut appearance at the nationals, Driko was an unknown factor coming into this competition and, in my humble opinion, acquitted himself very well indeed. He can only improve in years to come.
14 Arno Lambrechts The only reason why I'm here is because my huge gut allows me to pull a truck at a decent rate of knots. I pretty much suck at everything else. At 176kg I probably outweigh everybody in the field by almost 40kg. I'm so slow that they almost needed a calendar to time some of my events. My preparation for this comp mainly consisted of eating lots of unhealthy food.
15 Martin Shereden Another guy making his first appearance at the nationals. Not much was known about Martin prior to this competition. I reckon that with a little bit more experience he is going to make one hell of a strongman.
16 Pieter Appelcryn Known as much for his very verbal opinions as for his athletic prowess, Pieter is always an entertaining package. Being a personal friend of mine I know how much work he put into preparing for this comp. He ended up  surprising us all with his excellent performance and was very unlucky to miss the final, probably only due to him being the lightest guy in the field.
17 Wimpie van Loggrenberg Under the tutorship of Pieter, Wimpie has only started training a few months ago and has made excellent progress in a very short time. There's no reason why he won't come back with a vengeance next year.
18 Ettiene Smit The undisputed reigning SA Champion. I've watched Ettiene improve over the years to the level where he is now - with the exception of Dave Cooks he is head and shoulders above everyone else. Ettiene has beaten Mariusz Pudzianowski on tyre flip and hand-over-hand! He is SA's big hope for becoming another WSM finalist. Superstar in the making.
19 Eben le Roux Residing in the Free State, Eben trains with a bunch of powerlifters. And it shows! Last year he amazed everybody with his massive 330kg (726lb) deadlift. He has pulled just shy of 360kg (800lb) in the gym. Very gifted athlete indeed.

I guess the picture below could also be called a group photo...sort of. It shows everybody warming up for the truck pull with Gerrit Badenhorst (the small guy in blue) next to me making sure that everyone understands the rules. Just kidding, Gerrit!

The events for day 1 were the following:

  1. Truck pull for fastest time over 25 meters.

  2. Conventional deadlift of 250kg (550lb) for highest number of reps in 75 seconds.

  3. Tyre flip of 380kg (836lb) for fastest time over 8 flips.

  4. Circle walk (Conan's wheel) with a 300kg (660lb) weighted basket.

On day 2, the following events were contested:

  1. Log lift for highest weight.

  2. Farmer's walk with two 150kg (330lb) suitcases.

  3. Yoke walk of 380kg (836lb) over 20 meters for fastest time.

  4. Five atlas stones from 120kg (264lb) to 160kg (352lb).

As can be seen, the standard of the events were very high with some of the events being even heavier than would normally be used at the world championships! Thanks to our sponsors the prize money was better than last year with the winner taking home 16 grand and everybody getting decent money right down to tenth position.

Right, let the show begin...

Click here to continue to event 1, the truck pull.

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Page last updated 10 May 2005