The final Muscle Talk sponsored Giants Live battle was in Poltava, Ukraine this past Tuesday and Wednesday, August 23rd and 24th.
Originally, Giants Live was going to do four shows this year: Istanbul, the Excel Arena in London, the Power Park in Finland and Stroze inPoland. However, with the world standard being as it is it was deemed absolutely necessary by both WSM and Giants Live to make the final few men fight it out in one extra contest. This was seen as a much better option than than let it be done on wildcard entrants. So, "Let the sport decide" was agreed by all.
With this tension in mind It was to be a particularly atmospheric couple of days. This was added to as Ukraine was proudly enjoying a celebration for its 20th Anniversary as a democratic state. The legendary organising pair of Vlad and Olena Kiba staged not just one show - but 3 - to commemorate the National holiday. Worlds Strongest Lady and a massive fight between the Ukraine and USA Under 105kgs went down successfully as well.
The Giants Live events in Poltava were extremely tough for a contest just three weeks before the final. This just may have put a couple of athletes off coming. A lost passport, a missed flight and a complete no show by another athlete were all part of the story - finally nine men took to the field.
The first event was a sledge pull done on a ladder - The weight was almost 1 tonne and the distance was a mere 10m. Only 3 men finished a sickeningly tough pull. Mark Felix of the Uk was last with barely a few metres. It was Sergii Romanchuk of Ukraine who dominated to take first place. This set up a great possibility of a 'comeback' story all day for the veteran Felix.
Event two was the Frame carry at 370kg for 40m. Felix, shouting at himself in anger, came out and nailed it. He was only one of two men to finish it. The other being the newly crowned South Africa's Strongest Man, Gerrit Van Staden. Still, the difference between the two men was an astonishing 32 seconds. Felix was looking super-hungry.
Event three was the Conan's Circle, Paul Pirjol, the little 20 year old Romanian smoked it. An easy win for him on a 380kg weight. Josh Thigpen was second and mused that it was perhaps 220+ kg in the arms. Felix came third.
Event four was the Giants Dumbell at 95 kg for 60 seconds. Pirjol again should have won. However, an amateur slip up with one rep got it disallowed. The young Romanian already had a direct invite to WSM after winning Romania's Strongest Man, he was just here for the pleasure of a big contest; and that it was. Some 10,000 people across two days came to the event. They enjoyed almost 7 hours a day of strongman and light entertainment. Pirjol shared the win with Alex Bershuck of Ukraine and Alex Lysenko - a mighty new Russian.
Event five was a 200kg atlas stone over a four foot six inch bar. Felix won again with 6 reps. Romanchuk a close second and Thigpen in third on 4 reps.
Therefore, going into the final event Felix was just two points behind Romanchuk. However, a 380kg squat machine awaited them. Big squats is what Romanchuk loves; but the question was would any one manage it after the first five men failed it entirely! In the end, Thigpen did five, Felix did four and Romanchuk cruised to any easy 7 for the win in squat and the win overall. Pirjol failed it entirely and allowed the American, Thigpen, to leap frog ahead of him into third spot. This was very significant as top 3 are guaranteed a WSM slot.
The final results were:
- 1. Sergii Romanchuk 44,5
- 2. Mark Felix 40,5
- 3. Josh Thigpen 34,5
- 4. Paul Pirjol 29,5
- 5. Juha Matti Jarvi 22
- 6. Aleksandr Lysenko 21,5
- 7. Alex Moonen 21,5
- 8. Oleksandr Bersukh 20
- 9. Van Stadden 19
It has been a great season this year, with everyone from big 'Z' to Brian Shaw and Laurence Shahlaei setting World Records in Apollons Axle and "strongman style" Deadlift. For the first time ever we have had an athlete from South America. For the first time ever a big International has taken place in Turkey. Moreover, Giants Live is very proud of the amazing 21 different countries sending athletes to its shows. So we would like to thank all the athletes for their marvellous support and efforts throughout the last twelve months. Moreover, a very big thanks to the great network of promoters that have put their neck on the line to put shows on in conjunction with us. Finally, a big thanks to James Collier and Muscle talk for getting involved. We hope you enjoy the shows on Ch5 at the end of the year.