Did Shaun Clarida Deserve 2nd at The 2019 Olympia 212?
by Christian Duque
I don't want to take anything away from The Lion of Libya, Kamal Elgargni. He won the
contest hands down and I have yet to find even a single person who disputes his win.
Where I, personally, took an issue and where I've seen and heard of a great deal of
dissent, deal with the rest of the Top 5. I want to state once and for all, that i am a Derek
Lunford fan; I'm also a Shaun Clarida fan. Moreover, I'm a fan of the 212 Division. My
friendship with many of the competitors and my love of the division, aren't really relevant to
this article; however, feelings have become such an issue, as of late, that I feel remiss
not putting out such disclaimers. This article is not intended to hate on anyone - I assure
you of that, but Shaun Clarida deserved 2nd place. Why he didn't get it, boils down to the
very subjective nature of sport. All I'm here to present is my opinion.
Shaun Clarida's time is coming. That's undeniable. Taking 3rd at the 2019 Olympia 212
is definitely a step in the right direction.
I was at the Olympia, I was in the press pit, and I had a pretty damn good seat. That being
said, I had Shaun winning the 212 at the prejudging with Kamal 2nd. If we're being
honest, I don't mind being wrong on my handicapping. Shaun had the best the symmetry,
he was perfecting dialed in, and his lines were remarkable. There was no competition
between Shaun and Derek, it wasn't even close. Derek was holding water, shiny, and had
noticeably missed his mark.
I have heard people say it's "just the prejudging." I'm sorry, but who actually believes that?
I mean, I've been a fan of the sport for nearly twenty years and I've heard a lot of different
manifestations of denial, but for real fans to downplay the significance of the prejudging is
definitely first. The reason is simply because the Derek who showed up at the night show
looked considerably better than the Derek that took the stage at the prejudging. That still
being the case, what Lunsford brought to the night show, still wasn't enough to undo the
damage from the prejudging and he wasn't that good there, either.
John Jewett was on point. I just saw him guest pose with Guy Cisternino at the 2019 NPC
Battle Royale in Virginia Beach, VA. He was very deserving of that key 4th place finish.
Ahmad Ashkanani, who took rounded at the Top 5, also looked quite impressive. Neither
Jewett nor Ashkanani were trying to make up ground at the night show. Kamal and Shaun
were also not makinig up ground at the night show. I just feel that 2nd place for what
Derek brought, was a gift. That's not a bad thing though. Perhaps we witnessed history
with a twist.