The New Zealand Wheelchair Bodybuilding Federation held its Nationals event this past Saturday at Hamilton’s Fairfield Intermediate.
Callum Bridson won the Open Weight Wheelchair category while Chris Matthews was victorious in the Standing Disability class.
On the judging panel, among others, was Sue Bettridge, one of New Zealand’s top female bodybuilders.
The event this year was a tremendous success with a far bigger crowd than the inaugural event back in 2015. David Robson, the man behind the organisation, said the most impressive thing about the event was seeing the improvements that each of the athletes had made since the Nationals in 2015.
Each competitor had worked extremely diligently since the last Nationals and the onstage size and conditioning of each reflected this fact. Callum will be tough to beat in 2017 but I’m sure we will have plenty of top talent trying to wrest the title from him.
I was lucky enough to have a front row seat, and I was astounded at the physical shape the athletes were in. There, right in front of me, were four wheelchair-bound youngsters, and they were in absolute peak physical condition.
I know absolutely nothing about the bodybuilding scene, and while I didn’t really understand what each pose actually was, it was interesting seeing the level of concentration shown by all on stage.
Stacey Lomax, who placed second, caught my eye in particular. I don’t know if he was struggling with a little bit of pain in his stomach region, but I loved his pre-pose style, very fluid and structured.
In the end, it was Callum Bridson who took the spoils in the Open Wheelchair category. Robson, Bridson’s trainer, said that the youngster’s victory was due to him being in his best physical shape ever.
Callum has worked extremely hard this year and has won three NZWBBF contests. The shape he brought into this year’s Nationals was his best to date, and that made him the clear winner.
I was also the Special Guest Speaker at the event. My aim coming in was to try and inspire the athletes. Obviously that is the aim when you are a motivational speaker, but I wanted to try and keep my talk as real as possible. You are the key to your own success or failure in life, and that was a big theme to the speech that I tried to portray.
As a person who is not the most in shape, I had to laugh at myself trying to inspire those in peak physical condition I must say!
The NZWBBF is New Zealand’s first official Wheelchair Bodybuilding Organisation and has been around since 2014.
In a special treat for the audience and the athletes, Aaron Vaisigano, another of New Zealand’s finest bodybuilders was guest poser following the lunch break.
People also had the opportunity to take part in a training and nutritional seminar where Vaisigano and Bettridge, two of New Zealand’s top bodybuilding athletes, were questioned on how to get in top shape.
Work is already underway to plan 2017’s Nationals event, and Robson says it will undoubtedly be another big success.