This year’s IFBB European Championships combined three championships in one big, long event, lasting from Wednesday till Sunday. Altogether, 805 competitors representing 42 countries performed on the stage and 58 sets of medals were distributed plus 14 overalls awarding ceremonies! Practically, only children fitness categories were not run from the IFBB current pool of officials categories. There was no other such big event in the IFBB history but, according to the IFBB President Dr. Rafael Santonja, we can expect 1000 athletes soon and should be prepared for 2000 in not so far future. A new record of participation may be set at the upcoming Arnold Classic Europe next September.
The Championships were run in the well-known, hospitable and spacious Parc Colomer Sport Center in Santa Susanna, which has been perfectly prepared to this event, thanks to the experienced team of organizers from the Spanish Federation, under the leadership of President Jose Ramos. Famous IFBB MC Armando Marquez had to have a co-MC this time, in person of the Austrian Federation President Dr. Wolfgang Schober. The contest was smoothly run by the IFBB Judges Committee team: Chief Judges: Pawel Filleborn and Erich Janner, Stage Directors: Bruno Komesarovich and Natalia Nazarenko-Kiivikas, secretaries and statisticians: Ivan Penkov, Guido Falk, Wanda Tierney plus software experts Jan Lewandowski and Dusan Vuckovic, as well as a team of experienced backstage expediters and sound operators from Spain. This big group of highly-qualified professionals had to work as a one big, well-lubricated machine. No one could slower his tempo!
Numerous officials from different National Federations were invited to present the medals to the winners.
The first day of the 2014 European Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships was the men’s day: medal were distributed in all Classic Bodybuilding and Bodybuilding categories.
Five Classic Bodybuilding champions came from five different countries: Georgia, Spain, Lithuania, Russia and Czech Republic, but the most prestigious overall title went to the a new Lithuanian star Tomas Bendoraitis.
The most sensational winner is Irakli Gagua from Georgia, who won the first historical bodybuilding gold medal for his country. Georgia had been the IFBB “dead” member for many years but now returns in a great style.
All five 2014 Classic Bodybuilding champions are new and most of them came to the continental championships for the first time. It means that new competitors with great predisposition are still coming to our sports and they are so good that can successfully challenge “old” champions. The overall battle was a close duel between Tomas Bendoraitis and new Russian star Alexander Kuschuk, who – in some way – resembles famous bodybuilding champion from the 1960s Dave Draper, also from his face. Is he a new “Blond Bomber”?
Their tough battle has brought the result 8:10 for Bendoraitis.
In Men’s Bodybuilding two gold medals went to Ukraine and two – to Poland.
In 70 kg class interesting situation: 2013 European champion Miroslav Skadra (Slovakia) came to regain the title but had to fight against the 2013 European champion in… classic bodybuilding: Teymur Aslanov (Azerbaijan) and 2013 bronze medal winner Roman Iushchenko (Ukraine). This time the Ukrainian emerged as a winner.
The second “gold” for Ukraine came in the heaviest category, over 100 kg, where two newcomers at this level: Arthur Kovalov (Ukraine) and Michael Muzo (Netherlands) placed ahead of the former European champion Mikhail Sidorychev (Russia), was the heaviest bodybuilder at these Championships (128 kg), but had some “weak” points.
2013 runner-up Danijel Miklecic (Croatia) progressed a lot in the past year and moved up to the 1st position in 75 kg category, leaving behind Antonio Muriana of Germany.
The 80 kg class went to the 2011 Mediterranean champion Simone Schirilo, who outpointed two Russians: 2012 runner-up Aleksey Denisov and 2012 champion (in 75 kg class) Sergey Moskvin.
85 kg category was the battle of the gifted Spanish athlete Raul Gutierrez against two Polish stars: former world top classic bodybuilder Mariusz Balazinski and Krzysztof Skryplonek. The Spaniard won all three rounds, so the discussion is not necessary. For Balazinski it means a successful and quick transformation from classic bodybuilder to the impressive traditional bodybuilder.
90 kg class had three favourites: former European champion Vugar Verdiyev (Azerbaijan), former runner-up Ott Kiivikas (Estonia) and former European junior champion Szymon Lada (Poland). And this youngest star emerged as a winner from this tough battle against two matured champions, but later on he also won the overall title, so proved that his talent has been properly progressing.
Recently introduced 95 kg category was fortunate for the next Pole: 2012 bronze medal winner Tomasz Pabiniak, but after a very tough battle against Bouhlal Chakib (Italy) and the next competitor with the biggest quadriceps Peter Kovac (Slovakia). The results of the first round was: 11:12:13, the third round: 11:12:11.
Miha Zupan of Slovenia won the silver (2012) and bronze (2013) medals, so was interested in the gold one this time. Mission accomplished! Neither Przemyslaw Owczarek of Poland nor Victor De Gusatin of Spain could do any damage to him. Last year’s champion Reza Zinatlov (Azerbaijan) dropped to the 4th place.
The overall battle was Szymon Lada vs. Miha Zupan, with slight victory of Lada, whose bodylines and muscle quality looked perfect.
The second day of this year’s long IFBB physique sports weekend in Santa Susanna was the day of all Juniors and Masters categories as well as the Men’s Physique categories. Altogether, medals were distributed in 17 categories. The contest took almost the whole day and a part of the night, till 22:30 in the evening, with short break for lunch.
Men’s Physique: first time four classes, with 63 athletes and few great stars: 2013 world champion Valentin Petkov (Bulgaria), bronze medal winner Grzegorz Placzkowski (Poland) and 2014 Arnold USA winner Paulius Ratkevicius (Lithuania).
In the first category, up to 170 cm, there was no sensation: Ratkevicius won, but after a very tough battle against new Spanish star Carlos Nunez, who was the leader after the Prejudging.
But a real “revolution” happened in the next category, up to 174 cm. World champion Valentin Petkov came in the fantastic body condition but… he was too good (from bodybuilding point of view) for this category and the judges, with a heavy heart, I believe, scored him down to the 13th position, trying to keep the proper standards for this division. Anyway, Petkov is a great star and will be able to continue his successful career either in Men’s Physique or in Classic Bodybuilding. In this situation, new talents advanced to the top, with Norwegian athlete Alexander Myrvold as a new champion.
The next class, up to 178 cm, went smoothly to Grzegorz Placzkowski, who confirmed his top quality adding the next trophy to his collection. Then, a very rare situation: former world junior fitness champion Anghel Birica (Romania) and Hungarian rising star Adam Pletser were tied in both rounds, so the Relative Placement Method should be applied to break this tie, and it was more “friendly” for Pletser.
The tallest class, over 178 cm, had the longest line-up of 23 competitors. Czech competitor Ladislav Novy (what means “new”) was declared a new champion but the first round went clearly to Mikolaj Polaszewski of the United Kingdom who then dropped to the 3rd position, being overcome by Jorge Sanchez of Spain as well.
Alexander Myrvold presented so attractive “total package” that he easily won the overall title, followed by Placzkowski and Ratkevicius (both tied 14:14).
Junior Men’s Bodybuilding has two new champions: Filip Lihl (up to 75 kg) and Piotr Borecki (over 75 kg), who were running a very close battle in the overall, finally won by 1 point (7:8) by Lihl. Both turn 23 this year but still may fight for the world title in Mexico in October.
Junior Men’s Classic Bodybuilding: nice line-up of 13 athletes from 11 countries and rather easy win in all three rounds of Jeve Ojala (Finland) ahead of Lukasz Babiak (Poland) and Vit Sahula (Czech Republic).
Master Men’s Bodybuilding as usual very popular, with 103 athletes dispersed among 10 categories of different age (from 40 to over 65) and bodyweight. This was an impressive demonstration of power of Spanish bodybuilding: 8 of 10 titles went to Spanish bodybuilders. A lot of former world and continental champions competed this year. The most exciting category was 50-59 years old over 80 kg, with two-time European champion Alexander Alekseev (Russia), 2008 world champion Jose Carlos Rebolo (Portugal), 2009 world champion Wieslaw Kruk (Poland), 2008 European champion Aivars Visockis (Latvia) and 2011 European champion Antonio Vergiani (Italy). You can imagine how the battle was tough! Finally, Alekseev added the third continental title to his trophies.
Rafael Vera was the oldest (69 years old) and the best bodybuilder in the over 65 years category. He is simply a phenomenon in the bodybuilding world, whom the aging processes don’t touch!
But the “champion of the champions” emerged from the 90 kg category (age 40-49): Antonio Gutierrez (Spain). He is short, with full, rounded muscles, very complete – almost perfect bodybuilder, with… no long sport career, including the 2010 Arnold Classic USA only (out of top 5).
It was the third day of this year’s European Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships. It started with the European Federation (EBFF) Congress, which was an electoral congress this year. Dr. Rafael SANTONJA was unanimously re-elected EBFF President for the next four-year term. Also EBFF Vice-Presidents: Vladimir DUBININ (Russia), Benedetto MONDELLO (Italy) and Pawel FILLEBORN (Poland) and other key officials were re-elected what means that the EBFF Executive Council activity and achievements during the past four years have been highly recognized and approved by delegates represented 42 National Bodybuilding and Fitness Federations from the whole Europe. According to Dr. Santonja, the EBFF most challenging task in the upcoming future will be participation in the 1st European Games to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2015. Other important tasks are closer in time: Arnold Classic in Madrid and two Amateur Olympias (Prague and Moscow) this year as well as IFBB World Classic Bodybuilding Championships in Benidorm, Spain. .
After lunch, the afternoon session of the European Championships was run in Park Colomer Sport Center. In general, it was devoted to junior categories but was started with Wheelchair Bodybuilding and also included the Mixed Pairs category, which attracted 9 couples. Junior Men’s and Women’s Fitness as well as Men’s and Women’s Fitness had their semifinals only. With nearly 50 competitors performing their routines on the stage, it was a top interesting spectacle. Routines of such great stars like Nazar Kharkun, Fedir Khashalov, Liudmila Nikitina, Vera Egorova or Endla Vaher were very impressive but also many new competitors, including juniors, were amazing: Georgiiana Padure, Virag Peto, Essi Sarja, Kata Palasthy, Lili Ofella, Hakan Ozagil, Mihai Moruz, Patrik Tomaskovic.
These Championships are unbelievably successful for Norwegian boy Alexander Myrvold, who yesterday won the Men’s Physique overall title and today added the Junior Men’s Physique continental title.
In Mixed Pairs a little sensation: the best among 9 pairs emerged a pair with a Bodyfitness champion Angela Derzapf, who performed together with bodybuilder from 75 kg class Antonio Muriana, who won silver medal a day earlier.
Junior Women’s Bikini Fitness: first time two classes were run. 21-years-old Sabina Plevakova of Slovakia continued her unbelievable series of victories: after winning the 2013 European and world junior’s titles as well as world women’s title, she added her second European junior’s title to her gallery of trophies and will have the next two opportunities next years as she is only 21. The tall class, over 163 cm, was unexpectedly big, with 24 competitors. Last year’s runner-up Veronika Gulasova (Slovakia) dropped to the 3rd position, behind new young stars: Kristina Narbutaityte (Lithuania) and Erika Kondracova (Slovakia) with whom she was tied 14:14 in the finals.
unior Women’s Bodyfitness also had two categories but two new champions. The short class, up to 163 cm, belonged to Antonina Lasukova (Russia), followed by Antonia Pesevski (Sweden) and Jana Suti (Croatia). The tall class has a new champion: Una Heimisdottir (Iceland), who came and win after her 3rd place at the 2012 Europeans. In the 2nd place very young (20) German champion with promising perspective Marie Steffen.
Junior Women’s Fitness was unsymmetrical: four girls in the short class (won by Nikolett Szabo) and 12 girls in the tall class (dominated by Endla Vaher). Vaher (Estonia) regained the title won last year but added the overall title as well, showing great improvements in her body quality.
Junior Men’s Fitness – very short last year (3 athletes) grew up into the nine-athletes line-up this year but there was no change at the top: the gold medal went to Serhii Hordieiev (Ukraine) after the battle against the 2013 world champion Mihai Moruz (Romania), who has a very good predispositions, coming 3rd in the Men’s Fitness class.
May 18, 2014, was the last day of this year’s combined European Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships but… they were finished on Monday, since the last medal in Bikini Fitness overall category was presented at 00:11 Monday morning. The reason was the enormous popularity of this rather new IFBB division, introduced into the calendar 3 years ago. Only this one division attracted 124 competitors from 41 European countries and this numbers are enough big to hold a separate Bikini Fitness championships (not so far ago the whole European championships involved this number of athletes).
But first we were watching distinguished women’s masters. This year it was an introduction of the Master Women’s Bikini Fitness open category approved by the IFBB from the beginning of this year and it was an impressive inauguration, with 17 athletes on the stage. The title went to the bikini fitness pioneer from Poland, Ewa Zegan, who was the finalist of the 2012 European Women’s Championships. Zegan was running a very close battle against the Hungarian star Gabriella Rakoczi. They were tied 11:11 in the semifinals but Zegan was better scored in the finals and grasped the title.
Master Women’s Bodyfitness was run in two age division, with 43 athletes in total. Federica Ghezzi (Italy) won the 2013 Arnold Europe and placed 3rd at the 2013 European Championships. This time she came in a perfect body condition, winning unanimously her category (over 45) and then beating 10 years younger Veronica Gallego (Spain) in the overall.
Women’s Physique “exploded” to nearly 40 athletes in two categories. Both titles went to former bodyfitness stars: Olga Chernous (Ukraine) won the short class, while Ester Parisi (Italy) was the best in the tall class (over 163 cm). But many former top bodybuilders like Elena Stasiukynienie, Liudmila Tuboltseva, Branislava Jovanovic, Eva Horvathova or Jana Bendova also entered this division. Maybe they need a bit more time to “retune” their bodies to the Women’s Physique standards.
Women’s Fitness – in the short class sensational comeback of the 2008 world junior champion Anna Mekhnina-Dudushkina (Russia), who won both physique assessment rounds with perfect scores but was running a tough battle in the routine rounds against new star from Romania, Georgiiana Padure. 2008 world women’s champion Vera Egorova (Russia) in the 4th place.
In the tall class successful revenge for the last year’s championships: Liudmila Nikitina (Russia) moved up from the 3rd position to 1st place, pushing down Barbora Seckarova to 2nd place and Endla Vaher to the 4th place.
In Men’s Fitness the next exciting duel of two outstanding champions from Ukraine: Fedir Khashalov and Nazar Kharkhun. They both can perform amazing routines with extremely difficult strength and acrobatic elements, mixed with break-dance and street dance movements. This time Khashalov was scored higher but Kharkhun improved his body condition so much that their next meet could bring the opposite results.
And the two most crowded divisions: Women’s Bodyfitness and Bikini Fitness. Altogether, over 200 competitors in these two divisions only. In Bodyfitness Angela Derzapf of Germany regained the title in 158 cm class won last year, ahead of three masters: Veronica Gallego (Spain), Evalinda Aarvaag and Maria Eriksson (both of Sweden). Eriksson turns 50 this year and still can win over 20 and 30 years younger athletes! This phenomenon shows that weight training and healthy lifestyle can be treated as a very effective “fountain of youth”.
In 163 cm class Tiina Vaskelainen (Finland) moved up from the 7th position last year to the top, leaving behind junior champion Antonina Lasukova (Russia) and master champion Carina Isaksson (Sweden). Interesting combination.
In 168 cm category the 1st place went to the 2014 World Ladies cup winner Olena Chumakova (Ukraine), with the next master champion Federica Ghezzi in the 2nd position. Women’s masters champions were not joking this year!
In the tall class, over 168 cm, the last year’s finalist (5th place) Kinga Szweda of Poland moved up to the top. Then a very close battle of two great stars: Elena Guseva (Ukraine) and Elena Kirshchina (Azerbaijan). Guseva moved to Bodyfitness from Bikini Fitness and even was the category leader after the first round but in the finals she was tied 15:15 with Kirshchina and finally dropped to the 3rd place.
Overall title unanimously for Olena Chumakova, with Derzpaf and Szweda tied 14:14 just behind her.
In Women’s Bikini Fitness new configuration with 6 categories. The first three titles went to Slovak girls: Sabina Plevakova (160 cm class), Stanislava Pritrska (163 cm class) and Denisa Lipovska (166 cm class). In that moment the only question was – “Will they repeat their amazing success from the last year, when they won all (four) classes?” This didn’t happen as the next two gold medals went to Ukrainian champions: Olga Viazmetinova (169 cm class) and Alla Semenova (172 cm class) – both 2014 World Ladies Cup winners. And the tallest class title, over 172 cm, went to 2013 Arnold Europe winner Olga Putrova (Russia).
Overall category: incredible situation – Semenova and Putrova tied 10:10 in the first place but after closer analysis of the scores the title went to Semenova! Great spring season for her.
Sunday brought the team results of all three continental championships: Poland won the European Bodybuilding Championships, Ukraine – the European Fitness Championships, and Spain – the European Juniors and Masters Championships.
This was not the EBFF Physique Sports Weekend but a real EBFF Physique Sports Week and EBFF President Dr. Rafael Santonja announced that one day more will be added next year.