I attended the tail end of prejudging on Saturday. Why the tail end you ask. Well most IFBB shows that I have been to in the past have never stuck to time. So being a smart ass that I am I chose to train and take care of a few errands on Saturday morning before heading out to Carnival City. I mean the website said the prejudging would be from 10am till 4pm so hey if I showed up an hour in I would still catch most of it right?


I walked in to the bikini girls and a great view of Jen Lithgow’s butt. Next up were the Bikini over 168 which just gave me time to settle in still thinking “This is AWESOME!!!”

Then the Men’s up to 100kg division which had some notably missing athletes I was hoping to see. Namely Mario van Biljon. I will reserve my comments for when I get to the main show section in this post. That got done quickly and then the Men’s over 100kg. Everyone looked great but Cobus vd Merwe stood out on conditioning and his dryness.

Then all of a sudden it was over. We were thanked for attending and informed of the start time for tomorrows show! WTF I thought, getting mad with myself for clearly underestimating the IFBBs ability to run things so efficiently. A mistake I will never make again.

Times sure have changed I thought to myself. Ten years ago we used to attend shows in school halls along with the 40 biggest guys and wannabes – myself included – in Johannesburg. Well now this wasn’t going to be very entertaining for a blog I thought. I purchased my ticket for the main show and the next day I left a birthday braai early which I was invited to, to make sure I was at the venue and seated well before time. Who eats cake anyways right?


There was an air of expectation as took my seat waiting for the Big Top Arena at Carnival City to fill up. Things I noted:

– The crowd is better and bigger than yesterday but not filling the space. I expected there to be a better attendance. I mean the top guys in our country and from 2 other country’s were here to show their wares.

– I wished I had a program and a line-up list for the evening.

– Will the show start on time? (It was half an hour after the starting time given yesterday but that’s cool)

– Will Shaun Ray really be hosting, as I had seen some posts on Facebook say from the IFBB/BBSA? (That was a negative)

After a technical glitch a history of the Mr O was played on the big screens which really got a great vibe going. The national anthem was played, which was a nice touch and the president of the BBSA and IFBB worldwide gave some speeches. After that we got to it!

For purposes of readability and not to bore you I will cover the top 3 and any athlete I felt was noteworthy. My Choice is indicated by a * next to their name,

Women’s Fitness

  1. Nicole Seymour*

I had read on FB that Andrew Hudson was working with her leading up to the show. He seemed to have worked his magic on her. She was tight and looked great. Her routine started strong and very Oksana Grishina-esk. Towards the end I thought she could have had a bit more energy but overall great routine and great body with great balance.

  1. Gladys Tladi

Firm upper body but definitely needed more tone on the lower body. She carried energy through her routine well.

Nicole won the division which I expected.

Women’s Body Fitness up to and including 163cm

  1. Monique Worval*

She was firm with great shape. Definitely more tone and tighter than the other girls.

  1. Patricia Martinez

Patricia looked great but lacked a bit more tightness that Monique had and also aesthetically I preferred Monique’s physique.

  1. Odette Dippenaar

Looked good but I felt was lacking a bit of balance. Also not as dry and firm as the other 2 girls.

Women’s Body Fitness up to and including 168cm

  1. Annelize Dohne*

Annelize came in tight, well-shaped, balanced and confident.

  1. Leonie van Jaarsveld

She was firm but didn’t have the level of detail of Annelize.

  1. Louise Scholtz

She was soft with not enough development compared to the other girls.

Womens’s Body Fitness over 168cm 

  1. Cianda Nel*

She was pretty hard and definitely stood out from the other competitors. Her height definitely gave her more of a presence on stage.

  1. Marcelle Collison

If I had to compare her to Cianda I would say not too bad but lacked that firmness that differentiated Cianda from the other competitors.

  1. Lenel Le Roux

She has lower body development but I felt in order to compete with the top 2 competitors would have definitely needed to be firmer.

The Overall for this division was won by Monique Worval which when compared side by side with the other winners of their division seemed to be a bit tighter and also just aesthetically more pleasing to look at.

Men’s Physique

I have to say I was confused by these divisions. But seeing as I am a layman and don’t have an understanding of the judging criteria this could be expected. I went for the guy who I thought looked best on stage. My mind based its opinions on muscular development, leanness. Balance between upper and lower body and just generally how good guys looked in a shorts.

Men’s Physique up to and including 178cm

  1. Stephen Fick

He was firm but to be honest this judgement confused me. Perhaps it was because I was further back than the judges. Stephen could definitely do with a bit more muscle. Yes he was firm and yes he was toned. But my impression was that to have a beach body you need to also have a body that has a bit of a physical presence that would catch a ladies eye while you strut in your Billabong shorts on Clifton this December. I was clearly wrong here?

  1. Ben Noy

He looked decent and came all the way from the UK to compete here but I felt he had an awkwardness about him on stage. I didn’t expect him to place second.

  1. Castro Barreira Jose*

Now this is what I pictured a Men’s physique athlete to look like. Full muscle bellies balance between upper and lower body. Happy disposition on stage and entertaining to watch. Maybe the judges thought he could have been dryer?

Men’s Physique Over 178cm

  1. Marco Pires

He was full and firm but I felt could have been a bit dryer. Once again I was confused by what the judges were looking for in this category so not much to say.

  1. Neil Wentzel

I don’t actually have any comments for Neil, which would have meant for me he wasn’t that stand out. Nevertheless a second place.

  1. Renier van Jaarsveld

Got the crowd going being him and definitely had the most personality out of the lot. When I think of Men’s physique I think of the guys in the Men’s Fitness magazine and imagine them to have a friendly, outgoing personality like Renier displayed on stage in this category and Castro in the previous one.

Women’s  Physique

  1. Tiana Flex*

Cool surname and she was as cool calm and collected as could be, even when the DJ messed up her music. Her routine was well choreographed to Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana and was a pleasure to watch. She recovered well to claim the first with her physique close to flawless indicated by her scoring on the night. It was a 5 by the way.

  1. Lungi Plummer

Lungi had good upper body and back development, but Tiana was really stronger in the legs department. She needed to be a lot tighter on her lower body to compete against.

Now to the real reason I came to the Amateur Mr O Africa. I have to say the format of the show was difficult for guys coming in lighter. With a range of 10kg per class if you came in at the lower end of the scale – excuse the pun – you had to have great conditioning to keep up the mass of the guys that were on the higher end of the class.

Men’s up to and including 80kg

  1. Michael Adonis*

My note for Adonis simply says HARD. His conditioning was spot on, and it needed to be because a beautifully balanced Julian Lee Ramdhari was looking strong in 2nd. I suppose the experience and muscle maturity helped him along. But in the end he was a clear winner for me.


  1. Julian Lee Ramdhari

This guy is talented. His proportions, fullness, round muscle bellies and balance between right and left and upper and lower body is near on perfect. I was hoping he would have placed in first, but to be honest compared to Adonis he looked a bit smooth. With a bit more striation across his chest and detail etched in his back and quads he would have killed in this line up. I am looking forward to seeing more of him in future he has tonnes of potential in my humble opinion.

  1. Kingsley Kgengwe

He was not bad but lacked the fullness and balance of Julian and the hardness as well.

Men’s up to and including 90kg

  1. Ziad Mekdachi*

This guy for me was one of the most aesthetically pleasing bodybuilders on the night. It’s a shame that he couldn’t get a bit more hardness because had he done so there would have been a cat amongst the pigeons in the Overall Men’s Bodybuilding.

  1. Charles Mazibuko

Let me say I have seen Charles compete in the past and I have seen him reach a freakish level of hardness and detail which, had he brought that as part of his package he would have been unstoppable. Sadly it was not to be.

  1. Paul Prins

In the beginning of the line-up I didn’t really notice Paul but it seems that posing brought a bit more dryness in him. By the side by side comparisons he was looking pretty decent but just not good enough it seemed.

  1. Carlos Nunes

I feel Carlos should get a special mention. He is one of our top athletes over the years having won numerous titles and it was great to see him on stage again. On the night even though he is one of my favourite athletes I felt he was a bit too flat and soft.

Womens Bikini Fitness up to and including 163cm

  1. Lizelle Horn*

Lizelle brought a package to the stage which showed why she is one of the top ladies in the country. Never really realised how short she was though. She was firmer and more balanced than anyone else in her line-up and once again her personality on stage was great.

  1. Gizelle Higginson

One has to admire the competitors that came all the way from overseas to compete in this show. Giselle showed good conditioning, but she didn’t have the presence and proportions of Lizelle.

  1. Nicolene Booysen

On the night looking at placings one could see the judges were definitely going for a harder more toned look. Nicolene I would say missed out ever so slightly due to just a slight lack of detail in her shoulders. Overall she didn’t look bad but with the top 3 distinguished by subtle differences you had to bring whatever advantage you could to win this one.

Women’s Bikini Fitness up to and including 168cm

  1. Shannon Atkinson*

Definitely a pleasing physique to look at. She was the leanest and most toned out of her line up and it was no surprise to see her win. She also used this to her advantage in the Overalls.

  1. Carmen Botha

After the first 2 competitors were out and in all honesty a bit disappointing Carmen was the first in the class to come in a bit firmer and leaner.

  1. Larissa De Swart

She had good shape and everything looked like it was there but as before on a night where the judges seemed to be looking for harder and dryer ladies she was a bit too soft.

Womens Bikini Fitness over 168cm

  1. Angela Howden*

Following the trend of the winning ladies for the night for the night Angela was dryer and leaner than the other girls in her class so no surprises here.

  1. Candice van der Merwe

Definitely one of our more gorgeous bikini competitors (yes I am partial to blondes). She was well finished with a great smile and personality on stage but immediately when standing in the line-up next to Angela you knew who was going to come out on top. Definitely an athlete to watch in future. She can only learn and grow from this experience.

  1. Leana Viviers

Has a glamorous look about her with definite class and sophistication on stage. I think she narrowly missed out on second from Candice.

Men’s Bodybuilding up to and including 100kg

  1. Earl Abrahams*

Earl definitely brought a great package to the stage in this class. I would say his strength is definitely his back poses. With lats that looked like they could provide shade to small child in the heat of the Cape. What’s more was that those lats tapered to a freakin tiny waist! This definitely gave him a look that to be honest not a lot of bodybuilders have these days in modern bodybuilding. I would like to see him standing a bit more upright though on a relaxed front pose to accentuate them.

  1. Chris Fitzpatrick

Chris always comes in thick and hard. But I think compared to earl with the shoulder to waist ratio it would been very difficult to take this class. The difference here between Chris and Earl was in the detail with Earl just showing more of it through his slight bit more hardness.

  1. Sandile Buthelezi

Sandile hardened up pose by pose and to be honest I think he could have gotten second, but his lower body when compared to Chris is what let him down. It still had great detail and separation but when competing against someone like Quadzilla it’s hard to beat him on a legs. The scoring indicates how close it really was with a 2 point difference here.

Men’s Bodybuilding over 100kg

Time or the big boys. As I had said the previous day I had caught these last two classes and Cobus was looking strong from Prejudging. I was interested to see if he had maintained that condition today.

  1. Cobus van de Merwe*

Yes he had!!! Cobus started out in the right hand side of the line-up so initially I didn’t notice him. Perhaps it was the fact that the lighting on the end competitors wasn’t that great. But after a quick scan I couldn’t take my eyes off him with the gentleman next to me commenting “Sjoe Cobus is looking dangerous!” and he was right to think so as the results would show.

  1. Vusumzi Njisane

I am a huge fan of Vusi and his physique. The roundness of his muscle bellies and just the way the guy is generally put together is insane. I feel he is definitely one of the best quality Physiques in the country. So it pains to me say he was softer than Cobus and probably beat Shanti because of his balance. I wish I could see him compete insanely ripped and rock hard because that my friends would be a world class competitor right there. I have heard numerous reports of him just not coming in hard enough. I’m not sure why or how it happens but hopefully someday it consistently won’t.

  1. Shanti Mitchell

Shanti has a presence on stage that makes him seem like a giant even next to guys like Cobus and Vusi. He is well put together, however, I would like to see more lower lat development on him to fill out what seems like a big space between his hips and Lat insertions. I know this largely has to do with genetics but it wouldn’t hurt to try to fill it in right? Shanti hardened up through the posing but I couldn’t help wondering what he would look with a lighter colour tan more along the golden lines of Julian. I thought he should have gotten second.

Mens Overall Bodybuilding

Cobus won the Overall as we now know. He definitely had an advantage having just completed his line-up. This was evident but the way Adonis had softened when the overall line-up came out. I think Earl pushed him the most and if they had announced 2nd place he would have gotten it. I would give 3rd to Ziad just based on the prettiness of his physique.

In Conclusion

That’s my wrap-up ladies and gents. I apologise for the long winded nature of it but try to bear in mind that this was a running commentary on a 6 hour long show. I hope that you found it informative and entertaining to read. I would love your feedback in the comments section. PS if you were offended by any of the commentary or opinions herein feel free to voice that too, I won’t be offended after all I’m just a laymen so what do I really know???

Your Brother in Iron

The Layman

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