Dubai plays host this weekend to the biggest and boldest strongman show on the planet – with the world’s best competing across two days in the UAE.
Fourteen athletes will take to the stage for the second running of the World’s Ultimate Strongman event which will take place at Burj Plaza on Thursday night, followed by the Meydan Grandstand on Friday.
Along with a maximum deadlift battle in front of the iconic Burj Khalifa, events include; the truck pull, log press for reps, yoke run and shield carry, with the culmination being a record breaking Atlas stone run.
The field features a who’s who of strongmen including Brian Shaw, Mateusz Kieliszkowski, Tom and Luke Stoltman, Terry Hollands, and Jerry Pritchett.
Last year’s winner Hafthor Bjornsson and current world’s strongest man Martins Licis will not be competing, but will still be in attendance.
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Eddie Hall, a former world’s strongest man and record holder in the deadlift, says the event will be even better second time round.
“Last year the World’s Ultimate Strongman was a success,” he said. “It was the first year of the show and they did very well to get so many people attending. The event went well, there were some things to improve on, but that’s to be expected for a first year show – year two everything will be nailed down, it will be a lot smoother, a lot quicker and fans can expect a great entertaining show.”
With an extended field this time round, Eddie says the growth of the competition can only be a good thing for the sport around the world.
“Strongman in itself is a sport that keep on growing year on year. To get more bums on seats is one thing, but to get more athletes participating is another. They (organisers) have gone all out and have done a very good job of selecting the best athletes and trying to get more countries involved which I think is very important.
“I think the WUS is the biggest, boldest, strongman contest as of now. They do things their way, and it is definitely unique. It is like Dubai itself, everything they do has got to be the biggest and boldest so they are definitely following suit. I think the athletes are being treated great and that is resonating around the world. People are taking note and the athletes are talking and it is raising the bar for strongman in a lot of positive ways.
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Hall’s 500kg deadlift record has rarely been troubled since he set the mark but the Brit is all too aware there are athletes in the field who could threaten the mark. It’s something he has reconciled and is comfortable with should someone load 501kg on the bar.
“I can’t be naïve enough to say I won’t be worried. There are athletes here who can pull 501kg. It’s inevitable the world record will go down one day, I’ve got to accept that. It’s going to be tough for me to watch on if somebody does break it but the 500kg is something I did to raise the bar, to bring the sport up, to bring it to the masses and into the public eye and that’s exactly what it did. My job was done and now it is up to everyone else to carry on that legacy and keep the sport growing.”
WUS is far more than simply a strongman show with entertainment and activities for the whole family, with this year being no exception. It was something that caught Hall’s eye at the inaugural event.
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“One thing I loved about last year was you’d think it would just be men coming to watch the show but it wasn’t,” he said. “It was man, woman, grandma, granddad, son, daughter, the whole family came to watch and it was a fantastic thing to see. The strongman concept coming to the UAE is just what it needed and I think the second year is proving that.”
The World’s Ultimate Strongman deadlift event takes place from 6pm on Thursday evening at Burj Plaza, this is free for spectators. The remaining events will take place on Friday from 3pm at Meydan Grandstand with tickets available at worldsultimatestrongman.com
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