As the midday sun reached it’s highest point the temperature at the Southern Area Qualifier 2008 was about to follow suit. Twelve athletes were preparing to do battle for just two guaranteed places at Britain’s Strongest Man 2008. Which two would it be? There were some fantastic Strongmen ready to go head to head, in what was promising to be the best qualifier Phil Wright had put on in years.
Event 1: The Deadlift
The comp got off to a great start with the Deadlift. At 275kg, it was heavy enough to make every man work, while still giving the spectators a show worth watching, with a good few reps. Oli (16 reps), Jimmy (13 reps) and Jay (12 reps) made it clear they were not here for fun; they meant business. Paul Carter and Rich Gorvin tied for 4th with 10 reps each.
Courtesy of the PSMA (Check the links at the end of this clip for a whole stack of video from this event, courtesy of the guys at the PSMA).
Event 2: The Log Lift
The 125kg log for reps was the next event. Sadly, Phil needs to get hold of some new logs - the standard type that everyone else is now using. This particular log was a shocker. Shocking logs aside, Jay and Oli shared the honours to win with 9 reps with Jimmy only 1 rep behind. These three were clearly up for a fight for the two qualifying spots.
Ali Modaresi put in a fine effort to share fourth with Rich Gorvin on 7 reps. Enzo Martino put on gallant display, but along with Ben Sparks, failed to register a lift. Victim’s of the ‘Shocker’ log perhaps?
Event 3: The Farmers Walk
Then onto the Farmers. Two 135kg ‘brief cases’ to be carried over a 30m course against the clock. Enzo Martino put in a blistering time to kick off the event. Could anyone beat him? Jay Hughes wanted this so badly, he wasn’t about to let anyone beat him, be it Enzo, or his challenger in this event - Oli Thompson.
Jay pulled out every last stop to squeeze past Oli just short of the finish line, but then crashed into the safety barriers with a cry of pain. Jay had just fractured a bone in his foot and sadly this was to be Jay’s last event of the day.
Colin Bryce had the good sense to give Jay one of the ‘wild card’ final places, after a first class effort over the initial three events (Jay went on to finish 6th overall, despite only running in three events! All credit to Jay).
As the last competitor crossed the line only half a second seperated the top three, with Enzo, Jimmy and Jay taking the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.