by Andrew Michalak
This year’s edition of Arnold Classic Europe in Madrid will start within few days. The basic data are the same like in the previous year: competition will be run at the Palacio de Cristal de la Casa de Campo and will be accompanied with the big Expo. The event will last 3 days, from Friday till Sunday, with registration of athletes run the whole Thursday. With hundreds of athletes and 42 official categories, it will be possible to be done only by running the contest on 2 stages simultaneously , on the ground floor and on the upper floor.
The contest will be run in blocks: it means that all categories, except fitness, will be run in separate blocks, from elimination round, through semifinals till the finals and awarding ceremony. However, not all of categories from the same sport division might be run in the same block and on the same stage. To make the contest more spectacular, some categories will be run on the upper floor while other categories of the same sport will be run on the ground floor. Competitors and their trainers must be careful to be in the right place at the right time.
The finals of the most spectacular and attractive categories will take place on Sunday: women’s and men’s fitness on the ground floor, while 3 the heaviest men’s bodybuilding categories (95 kg, 100 kg and over 100 kg plus overall) will be run on the upper floor.
Traditionally, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and IFBB President Dr. Rafael Santonja will be there and will coordinate all activities. Taking into account last years experience and huge lines of fans expecting to buy entry tickets (not all of them were successful to get them), it’s better to buy tickets in advance visiting official Arnold Classic Europe website: www.arnoldclassiceurope.es
As usual, the amateur part of the event attracted many top international stars from all continents. Good example is women’s bodyfitness. Let’s have a look who will be there.
Women’s Bodyfitness up to 158 cm
The greatest star comes from South America: Susana Alegre (Argentina). She began this year with 3rd place at the Arnold Classic USA but then won her category as well as the overall title at the Arnold Classic Brazil and the South American Championships. Who can stop her in Madrid? Maria Bozinovska (Spain) who won the Olympia Amateur Spain? Olga Shestoperova (Russia) who finished 4th last year in Madrid? Or, maybe, finalists of the European Championships: Szandra Hidasi (Hungary) and Stefanie Wötzel (Germany)? And what about a fitness guru from India Rita Singh, who placed 2nd at the latest NPC North Eastern Summer Classic? She is the first and very promising figure champion from India. Anyway, the battle will be tough, starting with the elimination round.
Women’s Bodyfitness up to 163 cm
No clear favorite. The next South American star Michele da Silva Pinto (Brazil) placed 3rd at both Arnold USA and Arnold Brazil. Margita Zámolová (Czech Republic) won the bronze medal at the last year’s World Championships in Montreal. Then, three experienced stars from Italy: Roberta Visintainer (4th at Arnold USA), Cristina Menini (5th at Arnold USA) and Doina Gorun (former best European junior, took the 3rd position at the recent Olympia Amateur Spain). And one competitor who may be a dark horse in this class: Lucia Umpierrez Domingez (Spain). She finished 7th at the latest Olympia Spain but already qualified to the Spanish National Team for the World Championships in Budapest. Must be good! Also elimination round will be needed.
Women’s Bodyfitness up to 168 cm
Olena Chumakova (Ukraine) won the overall title at the 2014 European Championships but was not so impressive at the Worlds in Montreal (8th place). The challengers: Arnold Brazil 3rd place winner Claudia Galhoti (Brazil), 2014 World Championships 4th place winner Hanna Saario (Finland) and 2015 Olympia Amateur Spain 4th place finisher Aikaterini Megalou (Greece). Then 2015 eastern European Cup finalist Elena Miljagina (Russia). And many more less known athletes, among them Vanessa Kambou from Cameroon. Athletes from this African country will participate first time in the IFBB international event. What sport quality will they display? In this category also elimination round will be run.
Women’s Bodyfitness over 168 cm
Unexpectedly short class, limited to finalists only. 2014 World Junior Championships bronze medal winner Elin Hassel (Finland) will fight against 2014 Arnold Europe masters category winner Anna Giokala (Greece) and 7th place winner Noelia Segura (Spain).
Masters Women’s Bodyfitness
Nearly complete semifinal, with many very interesting and well-known names. Among them Margita Zámolová (Czech Republic), Anna Giokala (Greece), Cristina Menini and Roberta Visintainer (both of Italy) and Maria Mas Delgado (Spain). No favorite, each of them may be a winner.
As we can see, many top international stars will enter the stage in Madrid, quarantining top emotion and exciting battles for trophies. These battles will be run on Saturday morning: 158 cm, 163 cm and overall classes on the upper floor, 168 cm and +168 cm categories – on the ground floor.