Brett and Guntars make a bang in Vilnius
The Australian Armwrestling Federation crossed another milestone this year by sending two of its finest over to Vilnius, Lithuania, to compete in the 2014 World Armwrestling Championship.
It was the AAF’s first opportunity to clash steel with other nations on the world stage and a chance to test its might against the best of the best. And in true Australian underdog fashion, we left our mark.
Guntars Baikovs from South Australia competed in the Masters 100kg + division, and Brett Coutts from Victoria in the senior men’s 90kg. Both men are the current reigning national champions in their respective classes here in Australia, and both are formidable opponents on the table.
There was no doubt their presence would rattle a few feathers, but the efforts of these two giants surpassed all expectations.
And in true Australian underdog fashion, we left our mark.
Latvian born Guntars faced some of the biggest arm wrestlers in the world in the Masters 100+ division, and although this wasn’t his first time competing at a world class level, it was his first time representing Australia. Thankfully this new cloak of national identity didn’t seem to faze him, and he used his mighty left hand to carve his way to the finals, where he faced off against the Italian stallion, Davide Cappa, for the title of left handed world champion. Unfortunately the Italian got the better of Guntars, and he was forced to take silver, but an outstanding effort none the less.
Guntars drew a much tougher draw with the right arm, and although he again progressed swiftly up the ladder, he eventually lost to two men who would eventually go on to take 1st (Davide Cappa, Italy) and 2nd (Oleg Melentyev, Russia). Despite the tough draw, Guntars still managed to place 5th in a highly contested draw of 20. While a favorable draw may have meant another podium finish for Guntars, his overall achievements are an incredible result for both him and Australian arm wrestling.
Unlike the seasoned Guntars, this was Bretts first time competing at this level of competition. Despite his inexperience, and despite the fact that he had to cut just over 8kg to make the weight for the 90kg category (which alone is worthy of a medal), he still managed to perform extremely well. He defeated some of the world’s best in both the left and right handed divisions, eventually coming home with an 8th place finish in the left hand and an 11th in the right.
May I remind you ladies and gentleman, that this was his first appearance at the world championships, and the man finished top 10 with his left hand and just short with his right. He is a monster, and every year he gets bigger and stronger. It won’t be long until he finds himself on the podium.
Unlike the seasoned Guntars, this was Bretts first time competing at this level of competition.
A podium finish and a top 10 placing are tall orders for those following in their footsteps, but Guntars and Brett have certainly led the way. They have done many proud, and their achievements are reflective not only of their own dedication and hard work, but of the entire Australian arm wrestling community.
It’s only upwards and onwards from here.