‘Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved’.
Mattie Stepanek

This weekend was a first in many different ways for Manchester Kettlebell Club.

  • The first time a selection of my athletes have competed without my presence
  • The first time I’ve competed without any of my team present.
  • The first time we’ve competed in two different time zones on the same day.
  • The first time we’ve had a clean sweep of Gold Medals.

Lets start with the performance of a select band of my athletes who attended the GSU Scottish Kettlebell Open Championships 2014; Russ, Anna and Chez. Words can’t really describe how proud I am of each of them. Without there coach there, they all smashed there respective PB’s in the events they entered and all came home with Gold Medals.

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Gold Medal No. 1
Russ Dawson (85kg Category)
24Kg Biathlon – 62 reps Jerk and 94 reps Snatch – PB
Gold Medal No. 2
Chez Ballance (58kg Category)
16kg Long Cycle 96 reps – PB
Gold Medal No.3 and No.4, and Absolute Champion in Snatch Only
Anna Moller (68kg+ Category)
16kg Long Cycle 138 reps – PB
8kg Snatch 250 reps – PB

As there Coach I would love to take the credit for their continued success. Yes, I provide the programming and a little of my own brand of motivation, but that probably makes up for 20-30%, if that, the rest is their own determination, dedication, perseverance, and willingness to continue to practice and improve. That’s all down to themselves, you can’t coach that. In reality I’m a lucky Coach, in that all my athletes show signs of these traits. It’s what makes them all an utter joy to Coach.

Across the pond, on the same day, with an 8 hour time difference, I was preparing to compete in the IUKL West Coast Classic Kettlebell Championships 2014 in sunny San Francisco. Well not so sunny, as it did nothing but rain the whole time I was there, but that’s not the point. Waking up in the morning and finding out the results from Scotland, not only made me feel incredibly proud, but also provided me with that extra motivation (not that any was needed), to win and bring back the Gold Medal for Manchester. Can you imagine the grief I would get if I didn’t!

I must admit it was a strange feeling being away from my team, that feeling of being alone. But the great thing about this crazy sport is CAMARADERIE. Everyone one in San Francisco made me feel so welcome, it was just like being at home, especially with all the rain!

One of the many highlights of my trip was that I finally met some athletes who I look up-to and follow from afar, guys like Paul White, Charlie Fornelli and Jason Sanchez. We’ve only ever spoke on facebook so meeting and chatting with them was a pleasure. As Teri Stabler, a fellow Team Kettleguard athlete said…

‘it’s great to finally meet you and put a voice to the face’

Obviously, it goes without saying, with the competition being held at the renowned Ice Chamber Athletic Performance facility meeting all the beauitful ICKB girls was a highlight; Incredible lifters who have inspired a nation of female kettlebell athletes, and it’s easy to see why.

As for my time on the platform, I never really suffer from nerves, but I must admit that knowing how well Russ, Anna and Chez had performed, and knowing that the event was being streamed live across the internet, as well as the live audience watching this skinny kid from the UK trying to out lift there own athletes, certainly had me pacing up and down behind the curtains. My set in general wasn’t pretty, but to finish with 74 reps on 24kg Long Cycle, after all the elbow, forearm and nerve problems I’ve had for the past 3 months, and only 3 reps shy of a new PB, I’ve got to be happy with that. It was a good battle with my American and Canadian friends. Happily one I came out on top of.

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The event itself, was without doubt, one of the best I’ve ever attended. Steve and Maya at Ice Chamber did an outstanding job and should be extremely proud of what they achieved. Along with Yuri Petunovs they are are doing a brilliant job in promoting the sport in the USA. I made them a promise I will be back, but next time with this brilliant team of Champions I have.

So Manchester Kettlebell Club now has…

  • 2 x GSU British Champions
  • 3 x GSU Scottish Champions
  • 1 x IUKL/AKA West Coast Champion

Next up is the GSU English Kettlebell Championships on home turf. I wonder what will happen there?

But this date, this special date for the Club, February 8th, is now officially known as ‘Golden Bee’ Day.

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