May 9, 2024

Navy Leading Writer Underdown steals show at BPA Masters Allstars

By John Plummer

THE tight lines and perfect proportions of Alexandra Underdown stole the show at Brierley Hill as she sailed to an overall victory in the BPA Masters All Stars. 

Underdown, 38, (below) who has been in the Royal Navy for 16 years, epitomised all that is good about bikini bodybuilding — tight lines, perfect proportions and outstanding presentation. Sadly for the UK she is about to be transferred from Portsmouth to the United States for three years, but she plans to continue her competitive adventures abroad.

America will no doubt welcome those tight lines and perfect proportions with open arms.

This was the second British Physique Alliance show of the year and it gave first timers – Rising Stars – and masters competitors the chance to take centre stage — and boy, did they make the most of the opportunity.

The event at Brierley Hill Civic Hall was played out in front of a fantastic crowd, who were also treated to a guest spot by IFBB Elite Pro Victoria Crewe. Crewe was four weeks out from competing in Bodyfitness in Budapest and was in incredible shapt. 

Underdown's main rival for the overall was Virginija Mazintiene. Her lovely shape overcame Helena Gomm and Sarah-Kay Tushingham-Ford in masters bodyfitness. Gomm was the best conditioned athlete and had some breathtaking poses. But she may have been slightly too hard for the class. 

Irina Bozenkova was the pick of two fantastic wellness athletes. Both she and Penny Davies displayed the kind of shape that has made this class so popular. 

The overall also featured Ann Fraser, whose well balanced body and conditioned lower body took first place in Masters Bikini over 50 and Elizabeth Thornsby, whose athletic frame won Masters Bikini over 40.

In the Rising Star contest, Lauryn Jade Mannion, 24, (above) made a strong impression in winning the Open Bikini class. Trained by British bodybuilding legend Dayo Audi, Mannion showed the kind of shape that has the potential to go far. Elizabeth Thornsby recorded the first of two victories in the Masters Bikini class for women aged 40 to 49. 

Gary Chappell (below) was the star of the show, winning the Masters Bodybuilding 40 to 49 and over-85kg classes, before lifting the overall. Chappell had a battle royale with Nader Zareinoor in the masters, which was one of the highlights of the day. Zareinoor was thick and hard and had eye-catching legs but Chappell's physique flowed a little better.

Steve Howarth was the pick of three excellent guys in Masters Bodybuilding over-50s. Tall, with a wide back, he got the nod over seasoned competitor Chris Unitt and Ryan Evans. Shaun Hannan's greater development helped him overcome Andy Batty's superb conditioning in the over-60s. 

Carlo di Carlo's better flowing physique prevailed against Agam Saini in Masters Men's Physique 40 to 49. Saini, seriously lean, had the consolation of first place in the same category in the Rising Star show that took place first. 

Classic Bodybuilding saw a battle between over 50's competitor Ryan Evans and local lad Gavin Morris. Morris (below) took the win and posed with his daughter Emily onstage afterwards.

Andrew Taylor's remarkably youthful and shapely physique won Masters Men's Physique over-50s, relegating the excellent Philip Earley to second. 

In the Rising Star event, Allan Bell overcame Saini in the Open Men's Physique class and Scott Pugh won Muscular Men's Physique. Push showed excellent full and round muscular development. Joseph Benton won classic bodybuilding and, flashing his smile, certainly looked the part.

FULL BPA Rising Stars and Masters Allstars results


AS the editor of this bodybuilding website, I could not let this report be published without a personal comment on the British Physique Alliance.

I made the decision to compete with them while four weeks out from the NABBA Britain, feeling that I was pretty much in stage condition.

Despite the overall victory, I am glad I did. Quite simply, the BPA know how to put on a show.

This might be just the start of their second year in existence, but they run this operation as if they have being doing it for years. Smooth operation, from backstage to centre stage, with no one questioning where they should be and what was happening.

TV screens flanked the stage, with a large monitor in the centre showing each class, smoke machines, music, ticker-tape celebration. This was a party atmosphere.

That is not even mentioning the trophies. Excellent statue awards, standing 20-odd inches tall and overall swords that must have been five-foot in length.

If you are considering competing with the BPA, then my advice is, do not hesitate. Glitz, glamour, no egos, just pure feel-good factor.

Gary Chappell, editor and founder, frontdouble.com

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