Anyone wondering about the difference between pro and amateur bikini competition had only to be present at the IFBB Los Angeles Grand Prix Pro Bikini yesterday, where 10 polished-and-ready competitors turned out for what turned out to be one of the toughest shows of the year. Held in conjunction with the prestigious NPC L.A. Championships, it also had to be one of the top presentations of a bikini lineup all year.
Here’s the scene: The long NPC judging (almost 300 competitors) is proceeding apace. Time for the pros to come out. The judging panel changes. The music, which has not been overly intrusive, pumps up to finals decibels. The women come out, striding and in come cases bopping to the insistent beat, their hand and feet moving just so. It looks almost choreographed, like a lineup of dancers coming onstage, and a far cry from the sometime awkward popping and snapping of many of the less-experience competitors in the amateur show. Pretty cool.
As for battle that ensued: Before the ladies stepped onstage at the Culver City, California, Veterans Memorial Auditorium, there was just one question in the minds and postings of those who follow these things: Will Amanda Latona, winner of the Titans Grand Prix last fall in the very same venue, score a repeat? After the judging, it had morphed to, Will Amanda even take second behind the judges’ obvious choice of Diana Dahlgren and charming upstart Narmin Assria? The answer, sadly, was no.
To be fair, Dahlgren, who took first at the Phoenix Pro last year and was third at the Olympia, looked great—certainly not a bad call. I could see where the panel may have thought her back shot was a little perkier, for want of a better word, than Latona’s. Not sure I agree with the choice of Narmin in second, although the ’11 NPC USA A-class winner, who’s had a stellar rookie year, has improved tremendously on the more-swaggering posing style (and the conditioning) that got her into the pros. It just seemed so much a matchup of the two taller women. How it seemed to the judges was another story. The placings were unanimous, with Diana in first, Narmin in second and Amanda rounding out the top three and getting the last of the money prizes in the $3,500 total purse.
Dayna Maleton and Taylor Mattheny took fourth and fifth, respectively.
In the Olympia points sweepstakes, Dahlgren and Latona were already qualified for the Bikini O by virtue of their credits mentioned above. Assria is now at the top of the standings and a likely candidate to be part of the lucky five who will make the lineup, if she doesn’t win a show of her own before then. Heading into August, there are four bikini qualifiers before the Olympia on September 28 and 29 in Las Vegas.
Here find the complete results below.
Photos (from top)
1) Dianna Dahlgren
2) Narmin Assria
3) Amanda Latona
4) Dayna Maleton
5) Taylor Matheny
6) Jennifer Dietrick
7) Skye Taylor
8) Leigh Brandt
9) Katherine Portillo
10) Vida Guerra