Melbourne Armwrestling Cup
Arm wrestling in a pub, despite the ambition of everyone involved in competitive arm wrestling in Australia to draw it away from the beer and vomit soaked floors and unbalanced wooden tables, seems to go hand and hand. Even though I am all for the idea of drunks seriously injuring themselves in displays of macho stupidity (I fully endorse the idea), the night of the Melbourne Armwrestling Cup (held at the Imperial Hotel, Melbourne) saw arm wrestling elevated to nothing short of high art (in terms of sports). It could well have changed the long held conception of this sport in the bleary, alcohol hazed eyes of those who stumbled upon the action upstairs.
For a competition that was decided upon and planned relatively close the date of the competition itself, the Melbourne Arm Wrestling Cup was a huge success and a testament to the passion of competitive arm wrestlers in this country to make things happen and to do them well (people aren’t line up to do this for us, and the individuals involved worked hard and efficiently to make this happen).
The level of professionalism displayed by the organisers in preparing the venue, the prizes, the flights, the officials, and the live ranking system being updated as the matches actually happened (a game changing first for the night!), this was another event to raise our competition standards just a little bit higher again. And all this achieved with a Liberal Party victory function being held in the adjoining room…an unforeseen factor that would be enough usually to bring down anyone’s night. Impressive. We didn’t even lose anyone out the second story window despite this political black cloud. Very impressive.
this was another event to raise our competition standards just a little bit higher again
Political depression aside, the competitors pushed forwards, the matches were nothing short of desperately furious, many new competitors caused several upsets, and the upstairs bar was opened so I didn’t have to mingle with the unwashed masses downstairs to get a glass of water.
80kg Right and Left
The night set off with the lighter guys on the left and set the standard and pace for what was to come. With what is becoming a notoriously difficult category to referee, these guys are intense…must be all that lean tissue and gristle…and are not willing to give each other anything on the table (the night definitely set a record in Australia for the most referee grip starts in a competition, virtually all in this weight category).
The left hand title went home with Jesse Johnson, which was somewhat expected given his recent competitive efforts. Once again, Jesse managed to blast through this class without dropping a match (or even working up a sweat), despite very tough competition from a second place Alfred Caulker and a third placed Rory Magnabosco, both of whom were left to a grinding fight for anything other than first. Jesse may be dominating for now, but these guys are building up fast and have no intention on letting him continue this streak (although Jesse may have other ideas).
The right hand class was a different story. The sport remains healthy, and becomes more vibrant, when things get thrown in to disarray and continually change. No one could have predicted the right hand results. Ryan Bowen travelled down from Queensland with a relatively small amount of arm wrestling experience behind him, but you would not have known it given he didn’t drop a match on his right despite some extremely hard competition from competitive newcomer Simran Singh who also proved to shake up this class with an incredible amount of speed and power off the start. These two battled for 1st place, and Ryan managed to walk away with the win (in his first competition) with a strong top roll in straps that Simran couldn’t fight off. John Bowley was in third place proving yet again that he is always a potential threat, and that now nothing can be expected in this class…much to the concern of our referees.
95kg Left and Right
In what is usually a larger class in terms of numbers, Phil Rasmussen once again stamped his authority on this weight division and proved that he is a favorite as the Nationals quickly approach as he also walked into first place without dropping a match. Rohan Dodds provided some threat however, slipping against Phil in their first left hand match after a top roll hit, and managing to hold him briefly on the right in a hook, yet not having enough to go the distance with one of Australia’s best. Rohan also had a hard time in the form of Andrew Manfrae on the right, the two of them starting to form a competitive rivalry, and avoiding his powerful press (failing in their first match) and bicep. Andrew once again proved that he is one of the toughest competitors in Australia to match up against, taking third on the right, only just narrowly missing second due to a loss on elbow fouls. Damien Mullen walked away with third place on the left with a level of wrist and hand strength that should be enough to keep anyone in this weight range concerned.
95kg+ Left and Right
In what was a theme for the night, Brett Coutts went through the left hand division without a loss. Brett was back to competing after a brief break following his complete domination of the FitX competition, and looked as strong as ever and backed it up completely. However, the heavy weight class has had some powerful ripples (which would be considered waves by the rest of us) sent through it in the form of Doug Fatafehi who is quickly beginning to dominate on the right hand and is building momentum (like a truck) on the left. Doug went through the right hand class without dropping a match (déjà vu) with a huge hit that caught even Brett by surprise. Any meeting these two have from here on in will be exciting to say the least. Peter Cutting was also back to the table and has shown a huge increase in potential, giving both Brett and Doug a hard time, eventually taking 3rd on both hands, and provided an upset on the night by knocking powerhouse John Talo in to 4th place on both hands, certainly no easy task, with two grueling matches on each hand that caused arms to ache simply through watching.
The night was a success, and adds another competition to the yearly roster for those who wish to sharpen their competitive skills as we hurtle faster and ever closer towards the time of year where what a competitor has or has not done in the last 12 months will rise to the surface.
It’s going to be interesting…