Rising strongman star Pavlo Nakonechnyy has withdrawn from the 2023 Europe’s Strongest Man (ESM) contest. With the 2023 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) roughly a month away at the time of this writing, the Ukrainian athlete is choosing to try and recover from a knee injury to be prepared for his debut in the competition. The 2023 WSM competition is scheduled for Apr. 19-24, 2023, in Myrtle Beach, SC. The 2023 ESM is just weeks earlier, on Apr. 1, 2023, in Leeds, England.
Nakonechnyy suffered his knee injury on March 4, during the deadlift event at the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC). The strongman tied with two-time WSM champion (2021-2022) Tom Stoltman for sixth place during the contest, while fellow young star Mitchell Hooper was the eventual ASC winner. The ESM roster, featuring Ukrainian countryman and defending champion Oleksii Novikov, will now soldier on without Nakonechnyy.
In the wake of Nakonechnyy’s withdrawal, the Giants Live organization revealed that 2022 England’s Strongest Man Paul Smith would take the athlete’s vacated spot. Shane Flowers will round out the ESM roster as the 14th athlete. The international competition features nine different countries in representation.
At the time of this article’s publication, here is the complete 2023 ESM roster as it stands:
2023 Europe’s Strongest Man Roster
- Oleksii Novikov (Ukraine) — Reigning Champion
- Pavlo Kordiyaka (Ukraine)
- Konstantine Janashia (Georgia)
- Rauno Heinla (Estonia)
- Aivars Šmaukstelis (Latvia)
- Eythór Ingólfsson Melsted (Iceland)
- Jean-Stephen Coraboeuf (France)
- Dennis Kohlruss (Germany)
- Pa O’Dwyer (Ireland)
- Paul Smith (United Kingdom)
- Adam Bishop (United Kingdom)
- Gavin Bilton (United Kingdom)
- Graham Hicks (United Kingdom)
- Shane Flowers (United Kingdom)
Here is an overview of the events confirmed for the 2023 ESM:
2023 Europe’s Strongest Man Events
- Log Press Ladder
- Load and Push Race
- Deadlift for Reps
- Conan’s Wheel
- Castle Stones
The 2023 ESM will be a single-day competition comprised of five different events. At the time of this writing, specifics have not been clarified on each event’s details. Information involving exact implements, weights, and potential formats could be disclosed in the near future.
At age 25, per Strongman Archives, Nakonechnyy is still relatively new to the strongman scene. While he’s been competing since September 2019, the strongman may have officially broken out with his first victory in the 2022 Giants Live World Open. He followed that performance up with a fourth-place result at the 2022 Giants Live World Tour Finals, a fifth-place finish at the 2022 Strongman Rogue Invitational, and his sixth-place ranking at the 2023 ASC.
As Nakonechnyy’s first WSM appearance nears, only time will tell how the ascending strongman heals and potentially shines in South Carolina.
Featured image: @giantslivestrongman on Instagram