On Saturday 27th April we, as a club, hosted our very first Girevoy Sport Competition; The GSU Manchester Kettlebell Open 2013.

I really can’t describe, or put into words eloquently enough, of how proud I am of what we achieved as a club. I’ve received so many kind words on text, email, facebook, even phone calls, saying how much everyone enjoyed the day and how well organised the competition was. The day itself was a little bit of a blur, physically and mentally it was draining, and that was before I attempted to lift those Orange Bells!
I’ve had to take a few days to take in what we actually achieved. It truly was incredible, the whole team pulled together and put on the best competition yet!

We did ourselves proud, we did Manchester proud.

I’ve been looking through all the photos that were taken of the day, from highly skilled photographers like Simon Gosney and Andrew Bellamy through to other athletes and spectators taking photos and videos on mobiles. Everytime I see a new shot it brings goosebumps, the memory comes flooding back. It’s very emotional!
When you know how much time and effort you have put it organising everything, you never really know how it will go, so when we actually managed to pull it off, it’s an unbelievable feeling. It all ran so smoothly and to schedule, we had a few mishaps with laptops misbehaving but no-one panicked and carried on until it was all sorted.
People have been giving me all the credit and thats not really fair. Yes, I spent most of my time organising it, and sitting in front of a laptop trying to get my head around excel and formula cells, but without my team behind me and all the volunteers, we would not of managed to put on the show that we did.
So a massive thankyou to my athletes Russ, Richard and Mykie for all there help in setting up on the friday night. A bigger thankyou to Richards wife Kimberley, our resident cheerleader, for her baking skills and making the most delicious cupcakes and vegan cakes that sustained most of the athletes for the day. An even bigger thankyou to all the volunteers who helped with the selling, the time keeping and the judging; Anna, David, Edd, Simon, Lyzzi, Chez, Dom, Matt, Mamma and Pappa Leong, a massive thankyou to all of you. More thankyou’s must go to our hosts Train Manchester who gave up there facility for the whole day, without it, it just would not of been the same competition, and to Jason at Wolversons Fitness who helped out massively by supplying the majority of the kettlebells for the day. My final thankyou goes to every single athlete who turned up, all 70 of you did a brilliant job, each of you helped provide an awe inspiring atmosphere. Thankyou so so much for coming to Manchester! 🙂

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
Henry Ford

Onto the lifting front, it was truly incredible. The numbers were as high as any competition I’ve attended, the skill level of each athlete was better than I’ve ever seen before. We were blessed at this competition thats for sure. There were so many great performances and stand out moments. From Maxine Morris at her first competition showing the technique and ability level better than any I’ve seen from any other first timer. Through to the joy on Eve Bellamys face when she smashed her PB to bits. Onto how proud I felt when my online coaching client Patrick Greene smashed out 90 reps on the 16’s and Mykie beating the 100 reps barrier for the first time on the 20’s. To the eventual Mens Absolute Champion Reece Armstrong demonstrating exceptional technique on the 24’s on both his Jerk and Snatch Sets. To once again lining up with my athlete and friend Richard Whitworth on one side and my cornish friend Luke Jones on the other side, always an awesome experience lifting with these guys, and what can you say about the five athletes on the big red bells, Ray Wilson, Mark Stapleton, Scott McLaughlin, Gavin Houston and Tim Joseph. I love watching these guys, all slightly different techniques but equally as inspriring. Hopefully, eventually, one day I will be able to stand next to them.
The addition of the Relay was a brilliant end to the day and really brought everyone together. At every competition the atmosphere starts to disappear towards the end of the day as everyone is so tired. But bringing the relay in really brought some excitement to the finale. No more so when the Ladies team ‘The Bee’s Knee’s’ made there simply stunning appearance in Bee Outfits, they are now honoury Manchester Team Members for life after dressing as our logo. Though I do worry as to what our own Mykie has up his sleeves! 🙂

Manchester Kettlebell Open 2013 Manchester Kettlebell Open 2013

Highlight for the day, and the undoubted star of the day for me was Maksim Kolganov. A 12 year old Cossac Scot who showed great skill, heart and joy at being on the platform. To my knowledge Maksim was the first Junior to ever compete in a Girevoy Sport in the UK. A superb athlete and a lovely little lad. The joy on his proud father Vadims face was there for all to see. It was a great moment when Maksim came up to collect his medal, it literally brought the house down. If the electricity had gone, and we were surrounded by darkness, the lil lads broad smile and joy would of lit the place up. I’m very proud and honoured that Maksim and his father Vadim chose our competition for Maksims first of many.
It was an utter pleasure to have them both here. Keep an eye on Maksim he’s already a star but in the future………..

Manchester Kettlebell Open 2013Manchester Kettlebell Open 2013

Looking forward to more of the same next year!