WUS 2019: Mateusz Kieliszkowski dominates, but Stoltman brothers take the plaudits

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Mateusz Kieliszkowski is flanked by Tom and Luke Stoltman

World’s Ultimate Strongman took place in Dubai this weekend and once again delivered an action-packed show featuring some of the best athletes the sport has to offer.

Hosted at Meydan Grandstand, it was Poland’s Mateusz Kieliszkowski who took the title, with Scotland’s Luke and Tom Stoltman completing the podium places.

It was two days of gripping competition with the odd world record thrown in for good measure – here are the key takeaways from the event.

A Killer is born

Poland’s Mateusz Kieliszkowski is a special talent. At just 26-years-of-age he has threatened to top the podium of a major event with second place finishes at World’s Strongest Man and Europe’s Strongest Man and third place at the Arnold Classic plus last year’s WUS.

A win at a major was a matter of time – and in Dubai at the weekend the time arrived.

The signs were there on night one in front of the Burj Khalifa when he pulled 420kg in the deadlift – traditionally one of his worst events.

From there he moved on to win the truck pull, and yoke/shield carry events on day two – for a five-point overall win.

Some will point to Hafthor Bjornsson and Martins Licis not competing, but make no bones about it – they would have struggled with Kieliszkowski on this form – and he is even nursing a torn bicep.

Huge things are coming.

Scotland the brave

While Kieliszkowski may have taken top prize, it can be argued the real winners of the day were the Stoltman brothers.

Luke and Tom took second and third place respectively, stunning the strongman world in the process.

There were a few eyebrows raised when the pair were included in the original WUS lineup last year, but there can be no question marks following two stunning displays.

Tom has been training in Dubai for the last month or so, and looked pretty well acclimatised – especially on his world-record Atlas Stone run. He loaded 10 stones in a blistering time, bettering the runs of JF Caron, Brian Shaw, and brother Luke, who all completed the full run.

For second-placed Luke, who can’t even be classed as a full-time strongman as he works shift on rigs, WUS 2019 was a picture of consistency.

He performed well throughout but looked particularly impressive on the 180kg log, the yoke/shield and the stones.

Tom is progressing at a phenomenal rate and will be consistently challenging on the world stage in the not too distant future.

The evolution of WUS  

The WUS competitions of 2018 and 2019 are like night and day.

Last year was a great first outing, but there were always going to be things that could have an extra bit of polish.

Having the deadlift on Thursday night made a huge difference. Not only did it add a stunning spectacle on Burj Plaza but also cut down on Friday’s running time. Finishing the action at 21:00 on Friday was a marked improvement on the beyond midnight conclusion in 2018.

Even with an expanded field, the event seemed to flow better than last year, resulting in a much better viewer experience – and presumably for the athletes too.

Add to this the superb hype man Billy Garnon – who shouted himself hoarse on the mic but did and amazing job of keeping the crowd engaged throughout. It may be an underestimated part of the day, but Garnon’s addition was huge in improving the overall audience experience.

As per last year, there were plenty of non-strongman activities for all the family, which helps greatly on a long-ish day with plenty of kids on site.

Finally, there are not many events out there with a live steam as strong as this one, opening up the event for the rest of the world to enjoy. With Eddie Hall and Laurence Shahlaei it was a, well priced, professional product that seemed to go down well with the international crowd.

With so many improvements this year, WUS is here to stay – and setting the standard in the strongman world.

A few other things….

The deadlift: A fourteen-man field that all pulled 400kg – that shows the quality we are dealing with.

Terry Hollands: 11 weeks ago he was on a bodybuilding stage – now he’s pulling 400kg, and finishing a really tough truck pull. He may have had to withdraw, but what an effort to even be there.

Rauno Heinla: A 450kg deadlift that looked smooth! Still a way to go to hit Eddie Hall’s 500kg – but there is more in the tank.

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