Top trophies went to 3 countries!
by Andrew Michalak
This year’s Baikal Grand Prix was organized to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the famous “Atlantes” Children Athletic School with bodybuilding profile. The previous Grand Prix was held there 5 years ago to celebrate the 10th anniversary. The School director and contest promoter Mr. Yurii Sizykh did his best to prepare everything with greatest care and at the highest level. It included not only beautiful statues, plates and medals but also towels, blankets, sport suits and bags, T-shirts, brochures, video-films, key pendants, envelops or even table napkins. All of them with the contest logo! It was only possible due to the massive support of the local authorities, with the Irkutsk Province Governor Mr. Sergey Levchenko and Sport Minister Ilya Reznik as well as general managers of over 20 big companies from different industries (petroleum, wood, heavy machinery, transport, food supplements, tourism or even barrister’s office). Promoters of bodybuilding contests all over the world perfectly knows how difficult is to get the support of the “non-fitness” industries but Mr. Sizykh’s passion, devotion, perfection and honesty are well-known in the city and outside, so administrators and businessmen offer him their support with no hesitation.
Competitors were offered not only a substantial prize money (EUR €22,800 in total) but also a partial compensation of the flight costs (USD $500 per person), so a couple of the IFBB top international stars came to Irkutsk to battle for the trophies. Beside Russian stars, athletes from Belarus, Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine participated in. All participants were accommodated in the Angara Hotel Complex, where the official athlete registration took place as well. And the venue, one of the oldest theatres in Russia – Okhlopkov Drama Theater in Irkutsk. Opened in 1897 and reconstructed in 1999 is an opera-style theater, with big stage and 3 levels of balconies and boxes. It’s architecture and décor resembles the “Silesian Theatre” in Opava, Czechia, when the PEPA Grand Prix contest is being held but the theater in Irkutsk is bigger. Anyway, it was an impressive place to expose the beauty of the human body.
It is impossible to be in Irkutsk and not to see the famous, picturesque, the biggest (by water volume) and the oldest (25 million years) Baikal Lake, which is located 75 km (by road) far from the city. After the semifinals, the Organizers took all participants to the “Anastasia” Hotel restaurant for dinner, which is situated in Listvyanka village on the banks of the Baikal Lake. It was a memorable evening!
The event was honored by the presence of the IFBB Executive Director Pamela Kagan and IFBB Judges Committee Chairman Pawel Filleborn. IFBB President Dr. Rafael Santonja couldn’t join us as he left to Rio to participate in the Summer Olympic Games but he sent a welcome message. What happened on the stage?
by Roman Dzhabelov