• 24 June, 2024

Underdown Blows Them Away at Britain’s Strongest Woman

England’s Lucy Underdown added the British title to her European crown in what was a dominant display of power in the second instalment of Giants Live’s Super Saturday in York. In yet another fascinating battle with World’s Strongest Woman, Rebecca Roberts, it was Lucy who this time came out on top, with a comprehensive 6.5-point winning performance. Three-time WSW, Donna Moore, proved why she is regarded as one of the sport’s greatest exponents with an age-defying display that left her delighted to be back on the podium in 3rd.

Underdown and Roberts have produced some brilliant head-to-heads since they last met at Britain’s. On that occasion it was the Welshwoman who prevailed by a single point, and at last December’s World’s they were even closer. With equal points after six events, Roberts took her second world title by virtue of her head-to-head win in the Atlas Stones.

This contest looked as though it would be yet another titanic tussle between the world’s best two strongwomen and they kicked the evening’s action off with an electrifying Loading Race. The pair contested the last of the six heats and Underdown trailed as they loaded the anvil and barrel, but made up ground with a quicker pick-up of the 100kg sack to steal the heat in 39.28s. It was only good enough for 3rd, however, as Scotland’s Laura Baxter took victory in 37.76s. Baxter, who was 6th last year is a tremendous loader and carrier and made her intentions of a podium finish clear from the outset.

Donna Moore, at 44, showed why class is timeless, as she swept the field aside in Event 2: Dumbbell Press. With a 6-rep winning total with the very awkward 60kg implements, seven of the 12-strong field failed to complete a single rep! Andrea Thompson recovered from a disappointing start in the Loading Race to complete 5-reps to finish second, a single rep ahead of Baxter and Underdown who shared 3rd in the final heat. Both women, not fans of this tricky technical discipline, embraced as the referees blew time on an event they were not confident in. It was a display of camaraderie and mutual support that characterised the entire contest!

Rebecca Roberts’ 2-reps was good enough for 5th, but she was losing ground on Underdown and Baxter and needed a strong Axle Deadlift to put her back on track. Knowing she needed to set a target to push Underdown – the world record holder in the deadlift – she went to the absolute limit of her endurance, completing a phenomenal 11-rep total to put her in the lead. Thompson and Naomi Hadley finished on 9-reps each, one ahead of Donna Moore’s 8. In the final heat, Underdown’s opening reps looked easier than anyone else’s and it was no surprise to see her eclipse Rebecca’s total, amassing a total of 13-reps with the 225kg (500lb) implements.

With her lead over Roberts steadily increasing, Underdown now moved ahead of Baxter, but would not have been confident of beating the Welshwoman in the Wrecking Ball Hold. Roberts is renowned for her incredible grip strength, but as the duo faced off in the final pairing, it was Rebeca who seemed to be feeling the pain first. As the huge metal orb seemed to drop lower and lower, she finally released her grip at the 90.72s mark. Crucially, Underdown held on for a couple of seconds to take yet another event win with 93.22s.

With a healthy lead going into the final event: The Castle Stones, Underdown was certain of rounding off a highly impressive display to take her first British title. Donna Moore had produced the fastest time for the evening with the 80kg, 100kg, 120kg and 140kg stones, in a 29.22s clocking that was well clear of the next fastest time by England’s Katie Smith. Going head-to-head with Roberts once again, Underdown blasted through the four implements with ease, bettering Moore’s time by nearly 6-seconds and leaving Roberts in her wake.

Her time of 23.50s meant that she won the final three events and was able to distance herself from Rebecca by 6.5-points – a comprehensive win! Donna Moore finished just 2 points behind Roberts to take the bronze medal. The top three were well clear of Laura Baxter who headed up the chasing pack in 4th place overall. Naomi Hadley placed 5th, comfortably ahead of former World’s Strongest Woman Andrea Thompson who appeared some way below her brilliant best.

Underdown and Roberts’ rivalry is on a par with that of Tom Stoltman and Mitchell Hooper. These two women are at the very top of their game and can claim to be number one and two in the world right now. Their encounters have produced some thrilling contests, and this show was right up there with the best of them. Roberts’ performance in second was full of grit and it’s not hard to see how she has already claimed two world titles. On this occasion, Underdown was just too good and showing such impressive form she will be eyeing a world title of her own at the end of the season!

Britain’s Strongest Woman: Overall Standings
Place Name Overall Points
1 Lucy Underdown 56.5
2 Rebecca Roberts 50
3 Donna Moore 48
4 Laura Baxter 39.5
5 Naomi Hadley 34.5
6 Andrea Thompson 28.5
7 Katie Smith 26
8 Claire Myler 21
9 Nicola Bennett 20
10 Chloe Brennan 19
11 Gemma Moore 14
12 Faye Pittman 5