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NPA Mike Williams Pro Am 2016


Report and photography by Michael Phillips & Fivos Averkiou

It began with an awesome Andrew Palmer winning the first ever Pro-Am back in 2001. In those days, of course, it was the ANB Pro-Am, and in that year Andrew was up against Mike Williams, Ian Duckett, Steve Short, and Robert Feesey. The next two years saw Robert Feesey at his very best take the title, with Mike Williams winning his only Pro-Am title in 2004, it was then the NPA Pro-Am, and Mike was awesome that year! A year later, Rob won it back, and in 2006, it became the NPA Mike Williams Pro-Am named after the great Champion himself. An emotional Tony Montalbano won the crown that year, never to be be forgotten! Ian Duckett claimed the crown in 2007, and a year later, Andrew Palmer made a triumphant return after a bad injury, winning for the second time. 2009 saw a fantastic Michael Hannam win, and a year later, a jublilant John Heaton took the crown. Richard Gozdecki was the name on the trophy in 2011, followed by Martin Petro in 2012. Mark Oakes won in 2013, with a huge Milan Panek taking the spoils in 2014. In 2015 we saw the BEST EVER line up ever seen on a Natural Bodybuilding stage with a fantastic Nigel St. Lewis winning the title by one point over a huge Sam Watt, with Milan Panek, Andrew Palmer, Steve Howarth, and Robert Rodney all in top shape making it a World class line-up! So who would win in 2016?

2015, with THAT line-up being so impressive, was always going to be difficult to follow, in fact, 5 of the 6 Champions from that contest all informed me that they probably would not be competing anywhere in 2016. The one who would be competing was the two time Overall NPA British Champion Sam Watt, and he was joined by the three time Pro-Am Champion Robert Feesey, and the two time Overall Mike Williams Classic Champion Tshala Kabala.

From the moment he walked on-stage, it was clear that this contest would be Sam Watt's, and he received first places in every round from the judges. He is a mountain of muscle, that said muscle developed over a 25 year+ period of heavy lifting, and it shows! Very complete, dense thick pecs thick enough to stop a bullet (think of Robby Robinson for that one); with lats that start below his lower back, with abs that you can climb up...I could go on, but the nit picker in me knows Sam can be better! While he shows incredible muscle separation in his chest, his legs by comparison are smooth, especially his hams, and he has to keep those abs tighter, at times, letting his mid-section relax too easily. Overall, though, Sam's combination of size, shape, and balance was far too much for Rob and Tshala, and this was a great win for the very imposing physique of Sam Watt, and he now joins a very select group of world class Pro-Am Champions.

The battle for second was the ultimate chalk vs cheese battle, judged perfectly by the experienced panel of NPA judges. In round one, the shape, symmetry, balance, taper, and overall, the beautiful lines of Tshala Kabala saw him in second after round 1, with all the judges agreeing so. But this was not the Tshala of 2 years ago when he won the Overall Mike Williams Classic and British middleweight crown...Tshala was in good shape, but 2 years ago he was in incredible shape! For this one, he was surprisingly soft, but still, after a third of the judging, he was in second place.

Rob Feesey is the first to admit his structure is not blessed to do well in round one. Tshala Kabala he aint! But in round 2, that's different...both Andrew Palmer, who was sat next to me at the judging, and myself agreed, that this was Rob's best shape for a number of years. He has his faults - weak calves, not aesthetic at all, but his muscle thickness, his condition, his overall muscularity, those have always been Rob's strengths, and they came to the fore as he placed second in round 2, to level the scores with Tshala. So while Sam was a clear winner in all three rounds, in round 3 Rob posed very well, even adding some new poses, he was super sharp, and clearly beat Tshala, who is a better poser, but as I said, was soft, and the round 3 individual posing round is not judged on posing ability, it is judged on the physique - Rob posed as well as he ever has, and rightly placed second to Tshala's third. All 3 are outstanding Champions, and all 3 are a credit to the NPA and Natural Bodybuilding!

1 - Sam Watt - £700

2 - Robert Feesey - £400

3 - Tshala Kabala - £100

The NPA Mike Williams Pro-Am was sponsored by EQ Nutrition and Udo's Choice, huge thanks to both of them, especially Steve Howarth, Jack Dawson, Simon Stevens, of EQ, and Tony Barnes, of Udo's. Special nod to Sam Watt who donated £100 of his Pro-Am winnings to the Forget-me-not-Children's Hospice in Huddersfield, a great gesture from Sam.

Many thanks to all who supported the contest, held at Penistone Paramount Theatre, in conjunction with the NPA Mike Williams Classic, of course, on Sunday September 11th.

See you all there in 2017!

Michael Phiilips - NPA Secretary

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