African Strongman Championships
EVENT 5: The Log Lift
Having survived the rigors of day 1, the top 10 athletes had only Friday night's rest before contesting the final four events on Saturday 23 April to determine who would be crowned South Africa's strongest man of 2005. Due to the fact that each athlete's points from the qualifying round were carried over, the final was really only a continuation of the qualifier with the bottom nine athletes having been eliminated.
In contrast to the qualifier, the final was hosted inside the fantastic Randburg Dome and was organised as a true spectator event of the highest quality. As the day progressed, more and more spectators turned up and by the end of the competition we had a packed house. Here's the starting line-up being introduced to the crowd. The guys were standing in the order of their current point standings with Ettiene on the very left and Rory to the far right. Holding the mike is Garth Collins of Gladiators fame, a well know TV personality in South Africa. His long background in the gym scene made him a very successful and knowledgeable MC for the day.
Here's the leading three guys after day 1 with Gerrit Badenhorst, who acted as referee, on the left of the picture looking smaller than you've probably seen him before. There's life after strongman, though, and the excellent track off his first album namely The Strongman Anthem was being played when this picture was taken. It goes without saying that I'm the fatso in the centre. Our main sponsor's logo is prominently visible.
Starting off the final four events was the log lift for maximum weight. Each athlete was given 60 seconds to complete a full overhead lockout at each weight with the log being progressively loaded up with more weight. Failure to perform a lockout within the allocated time meant the disqualification of that particular athlete. The bare log itself was measured to weigh 125kg (275lb). The first jump after that was up to 135kg (297lb) followed by 145kg (319lb) and 150kg (330lb). After that, the jumps were 5kg (11lb) each. Using the buckle of the lifting belt as a loop to assist in raising the log to the shoulders was allowed. Below is South Africa's top log lift specialist, Stephan Claassen in action.
Here's the final results of the log lift:
From the start it was obvious that Stephan meant business and that he was here to win this event. He ended up getting an easy 165kg (363lb) before attempting to break Gerrit's long-standing SA record of 177.5kg (391lb) by going 180kg (396lb). This proved to be slightly too heavy for him. Stephan's training partner Dave Cooks put up a very good show with 160kg (352lb) in second position with Ettiene at 155kg (341lb) having his worst performance of the competition. Having said that, the progress that Ettiene has made on the log lift over the last two years was truly amazing. Even on his worst event he still placed third! Very impressive.
Another guy who did very well here was Hennie who shared fourth position with me on 150kg (330lb). That's probably the heaviest log I've ever seen Hennie do. My 150kg (330lb) was also a 5kg (11lb) personal best and I came surprisingly close to locking out 155kg (341lb).
Below is a chart with the overall point standings after the completion of this event.
It was becoming obvious at this point that it was going to take a minor miracle for anybody to beat Ettiene. I was still hanging on to second position by the slightest of margins with Dave breathing down my neck. Andre's solid performance did his position a lot of good by moving him up into fourth. Willem unfortunately swapped positions with Andre by dropping two spots into sixth. Stephan's win here moved him up three spots into a very good 6th.
Here's some pictures taken during this event:
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Page last updated 10 May 2005