WSM Qualifiers: Day One

The 2005 MET-Rx World's Strongest Man contest got off to a roaring start as last night's welcome dinner was attended by about 50 members of the local press and TV media, as well as the heads of the Chengdu Government and Sports Ministries, a fitting introduction to today's qualifiers.

The battle to make it to the finals of this year's WSM contest began, with two competitors ultimately advancing from each qualifying group. Here are the top two from each group, after the first day:

Group One: Raivis Vidzis is first and Josh Thigpen is second. Group Two: Ralf Ber leads, followed by Boris Haraldsson. Group Three: Mariusz Pudzianowski is in first place, and Don Pope is in second. Group Four: Slawomir Toczek is in first and Dave Ostlund is in second. Group Five: Jesse Marunde leads, followed by Tarmo Mitt.

Mariusz Pudzianowski is reported to be in the best shape of his life, looking "unbelievable," and he was the only competitor today to finish the very heavy carry and drag event. Jesse Marunde had a tremendous day, playing to the crowd as he won both of his events. Don Pope and Dave Ostlund also turned in great first-day performances.

Tomorrow it's squat and deadlift for all the competitors, so everyone who has paid his dues in the gym is likely to shine.

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