Only 4 places in the final are left, and by the end of this heat, only 2 will remain. The following 6 competitors are here to compete for those places today:
Derek Devaughan – USA (2nd World’s Strongest Man Appearance)
Lauri Nami – Estonia (4th World’s Strongest Man Appearance)
Gerhard Van Staden – South Africa (5th World’s Strongest Man Appearance)
Ari Gunnarsson – Iceland (3 time runner up at Iceland’s Strongest Man in 2011, 2012 and 2015)
Eddie Hall – England (4 time Britain’s Strongest Man)
Mateusz Kieliszkowski – Poland (2 time Poland’s Strongest Man)
THE BEAST Eddie Hall is definitely the best England has to offer right now. Multiple time UK and Britain’s Strongest Man. The greatest deadlifter on the planet. Last year he reached the podium for a 3rd place finish in the finals despite being injured. Healthy, there is no limit to what this man can do. One of the qualifying spots is most certainly his, with the other likely going to
Event 1 – Load and Drag
2x110kg sacks that must be loaded on a platform, and then a 310kg cart needs to be dragged up the 20m course!
Devaughan, Nami and Staden are up first. Nami and Staden have more experience, but last time I saw Devaughan (last year), he looked impressive. That said, I don’t expect any of these 3 men to finish the course. Well, all 3 men are doing exceptionally well with the cart drag. None of them finish, but they have done better than most of the competitors from the previous 3 heats! Now for Gunnarsson, Hall and Kieliszkowski to give this a go! Hall certainly has the MASS and sheer POWER to finish this, but his fitness might prevent him from doing so. Kieliszkowski was very impressive last year and could do well, while Gunnarsson is fairly new at this level and might not be on the same level as the other 2 men. Well, Gunnarsson is currently ahead of his competitors, while Kieliszkowski does poorly and walks away before the time is up.
Event 2 – Log Lift
158kg log must be lifted overhead as many times as possible in the time limit!
Devaughan only managed 1, with Nami getting 2. Now we get to see Van Staden against Gunnarsson. Both struggle with the first rep, and Van Staden cannot get past that number. Gunnarsson keeps going, and while none of his reps look easy, he powers through and gets 4 reps which will land him in good points. Hall and Kieliszkowski are our final 2 men to go, and Hall has to be the favourite. That said, he’s a slow lifter and Kieliszkowski could beat him with his speed. Well, Eddie is actually going faster than Kieliszkowski, and all his reps look easy while Kieliszkowski begins to struggle. Both end up with 7 reps each.
Event 3 – Bus Pull
A 15 tonnes bus that needs to be pulled up a 25m course!
Van Staden went first and achieved 18.28m, but tore his calf and has to retire from the competition. Nami completed the course in 51.14s, but is currently only in second place with Derek Devaughan in first with his time of 48.63s. Gunnarsson is the first man we get to see. Iceland’s strongmen have typically always been very good at this event, with Thor currently being one of the best in the world. He slows down towards the end, but keeps on going and does it in 45.68s for the current lead! Kieliszkowski’s time now. He slips right at the start which might slow down other athletes, but he keeps on going and looks to be setting a new time! Yes, he manages it in 38.51s! Eddie Hall will have a hard time beating that, but his size, power and weight should give him all the advantages needed. A great start for him, the question now is whether or not he can keep up the pace. He looks to slow down near the end, but he was so fast for the rest of the course, he wins with 34.76s!
Time to check the scores at the halfway mark:
2 event wins sees Hall in first place, though Gunnarsson is only half a point behind. Kieliszkowski not living up to his reputation from last year, but he could still make a comeback with 3 events to go.
Event 4 – Deadlift
350kg for reps. This is EDDIE’S event for sure and will give him another event win.
Devaughan and Nami have been and gone, with 1 an 2 reps respectively. Now its time for the Icelander. He isn’t as tall as Thor, so he should be better suited to this event, but he’s still young and might not have the same power just yet. 2 reps from him ties for current first with Nami. Kieliszkowski isn’t known for being a great deadlifter, but his raw explosive power might give him what he needs to at least come second in this event. At 3 reps, that is definitely good enough for second place with Eddie guaranteed to do 4 for the win now. After Kieliszkowski pushed Eddie to 7 reps in the log lift, it must be nice for him to know he “only” has to do 4 reps with 350kg here. 4 is exactly what he does, and its a 3rd straight event win for THE BEAST!
Event 5 – Bullion Toss
8 bars from 17.5kg to 25kg in weight need to be thrown over a huge wall!
Bad results for Nami and Devaughan here, with 0 and 1 bars thrown over respectively. Kieliszkowski up first for us to see, and a good result here is needed as in the past Eddie Hall hasn’t been that great in this type of event. 6 go over in under 30 seconds, but the 7th is too much for him. Great result, but now we have to see what Gunnarsson and Eddie do. Ari Gunnarsson is next, and despite being able to thrown them at the right height, he struggles with the direction as 2 of them don’t go over first time. He will need at least 7 now to beat out Kieliszkowski, but time is against him and only 4 bars went over in total. Now for Eddie. I wonder how he has improved at this event, and if the new bullion bars will be easier for him than the kegs and kettle bells. How many does Eddie do? 2. In a fast time. Which gives him enough points to automatically qualify! Smart from Hall!
Only the last man standing crap to go now, so lets have a look at the scores and confirm that Eddie has make it to the final already:
Yep, Eddie is through to the final and barely looked like he was trying for the most part. Kieliszkowski getting that event win was much needed, as while he’s tied for second, he will be the final man in the last man standing event due to having better finishes in the events overall compared to Gunnarsson.
Event 6 – Last Man Standing
Ball. Pass it. Whatever.
Nami and Devaughan couldn’t have qualified no matter what place they got in the Atlas Stones if that still happened, so essentially they are here to tire themselves out before we get to Gunnarsson and Kieliszkowski who will actually battle it out for the remaining qualifying place. Still unsure of the time limit they get to pass the stone over the wall, as sometimes they say 15 seconds and sometimes they say 10 seconds, but I was keeping count on a number of the passes and plenty went over 10 seconds. Devaughan finishes before Nami, then Nami only gets a lift or 2 against Gunnarsson before he’s done too. And now its all down to Kieliszkowski and Gunnarsson, as it would have been on the normal Atlas Stones. Which as I keep saying, makes this entire event POINTLESS and horrible. Kieliszkowski is going well, passing the stone in half the time its taking Gunnarsson who is clearly knackered. Kieliszkowski wins.
Eddie and Kieliszkowski go through as expected, though it wasn’t as easy for Kieliszkowski as everyone thought.