This heat was really interesting as although there were some familiar favourites, it was also quite a tough group with some new and unknown faces. England’s Eddie Hall had a lot to prove to himself after a couple of fumbles last year, however since then in UK events he has shown that he’s getting better and better. He’s bigger, stronger and he’s also seems to be faster on his feet, which is critical in WSM as many events involve some athleticism as well as static tests of strength.
Hall proved that he has some of the strongest shoulders in the business during the overhead log press. Others struggled to lift it over their heads, bracing with their legs, while he just rolled it up his chest in one smooth move and then up. Incredibly strong and a great performance that served him very well.
The American Jerry Pritchett started out very poorly, coming last in the first loading event, and to begin with it looked as if he was going to stay at the bottom of the ranks. However, over the next five events he showed that it was just a minor slip, as he excelled, beating the competition and in the end he won the heat, earning himself a spot in the WSM final. He gave it his all and a few times the commentators called him the dark horse of the heat. In this case it was a well-earned nickname, as he definitely fought hard to earn his place. I think he is definitely one to watch in the final as he started out slow but quickly build up speed.
This heat was definitely a battle throughout and with each event I went in having no inkling of who would come out on top. Nevertheless Eddie Hall and Pritchett were both consistent in their attack and they gradually started to pull ahead of the rest of the group. Both men did very well and it will be interesting to see if Hall’s increased strength and speed will earn him a spot in the top five. I think for a while the competition will continue to be dominated by Big Z, but people like Hall are young and incredibly hungry. Last year Shaw knocked the big Lithuanian off his top spot so the battle for the podium this year is going to be very hard. One or two of the old hands could be upset and find themselves having to work much harder than normal with people like Hall and others chasing at their heels.