I usually write a blog fairly quickly after a competition, but this one has taken sometime and I still don’t know what to write. I could wax lyrical about how well the competition ran, how all the athletes performed with courage, strength and heart, how proud I am of my team for pulling off another near perfect competition.

But, I honestly wasn’t sure whether we could actually top our début competition last year, but somehow I think we managed it. The numbers can’t lie. Close to 130 competitors. Last year we had 70 compete. 9 countries were represented; England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Poland, USA, Czech, Norway and Andorra. As opposed to 4 the previous year.

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The Medallists at the GSU English Kettlebell Championships 2014.

Yet again, somehow, it ran like clock-work. No mishaps at all. Well, aside from one timer on the Jerk set of Andy Taylor (Yorkshire Kettlebell Club) deciding not to work. Thankfully it didn’t put Andy off as he made his way to a respectable 106 reps on 16’s. Oh and lets not forget about a damn rogue formula in Excel that had me baffled for a while whilst trying to figure out the final results. The less said about that the better! 🙂

I love this crazy ass sport. I love the way it tests all of us in so many ways, our skills, our hearts, the ability to bounce back after a bad set. Just ask our own athlete Russ. I swear when Russ manages to put together two solid sets he will hit high numbers. Unfortunately so far in his GS career he has one bad set and good set. In the case this past weekend, one bad set and one great set. Smashing his snatch PB on 24’s, after a disappointing Jerk set. His ability and desire to bounce back from a bad set is legendary, hopefully the next competition will be the one where it all comes together.

Not only does this sport test us, but it builds strong friendships. There is a respect there between athletes, a camaraderie not evident in many sports. As the great Jesse Owens once said…

‘Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust’

It’s always great to see new faces make the bold step up onto the platform. We had quite a few new faces at this competition, some nervous faces, some petrified faces. But as always once that clock started they all smashed it. I still remember my first competition so I know exactly what they all went through. The way I see it, and what I continually try to get across to my athletes, is that winning is great, but the ultimate victory is from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best on the day, and have got out everything you had to give at that moment in time. But yeah, who am I kidding, winning is gggggrrrrrreat!

As well as the regular faces we see at every competition, we had some athletes from afar attend. The wonderfully smiley Linda Opsahl from Norway, who picked up a well deserved silver medal in 16kg Long Cycle (58kg category). I promised to cheer Linda on but I don’t think she could hear me over the vocal support from her new friends at Hull Kettlebell Club. I’ve never seen anyone smile there way through a 10 minute set until this moment in time! Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!
We also had an incredibly strong team visit us all the way from Andorra. Frank Morales and his team of Sara, Monica, Jessica, Cristian and Alexandre did a great job, each one taking home medals. In total Club Kettlebell Andorra took home 4 x Gold, 3 x Silver and 1 x Bronze from the day. Not bad hey? Much better results than there football team! 🙂

As for my rabble, not really much I can say. As always they did me proud, they always do. Each one bringing home a Gold Medal in there respective events, apart from me left with the Silver. Rich pipped me to the Gold. Well I say pipped, he obliterated my measly 36 reps on 28kg Long Cycle with a highly respectable 52. Nicely done pal, but I’ll get you next time Mr Whitworth!

Anna Moeller. The calm before the storm.

Anna Moeller. The calm before the storm.

For me though, there were two real stand out performances from the day. First our very own Anna Moeller hitting 106 reps on 20kg Long Cycle, giving her the CMS Rank (Candidate for Master of Sport). I’ve never seen Anna lift more confidently and as strongly as what she did on Saturday. She really rose to the occasion of her home competition. Amazing set.
Even more amazing, was Abigail Johnston with yet another World Record on 24kg Jerk with 163 reps. But rather than settle for one World Record, after her Biathlon sets she went and equalled the World Record on 24kg Long Cycle with 124 reps. If there is ever a case for women to start competing with two bells, Abi is at the very top of the list! Very, very, very impressive lifting.

Abi Johnston. New WR 24kg Jerk 163 reps.

Abi Johnston. New WR 24kg Jerk 163 reps.

Full results from the competition can be viewed by clicking on this link. I’ve added in the co-efficient score as well so all the athletes can see how they compared on a pound to pound basis (A strong showing by our own Mykie and Chez here).

So that’s it really. we did it. We put on the best competition we could. We did Manchester proud. The stress, the long days, the preparation, It was all worth it. As for next year, lets see….

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