January 20, 2013 Posted by Rohan Dodds in Australian / Local

National Championships 2012

On Sunday December 2nd, 2012, the Australian Armwrestling Federation held our second official national championship in Mitcham, Victoria. Offering more weight classes than ever before, both left and right hand for all but one weight division, and even an open women’s division, this was the biggest and most exciting competition that Australia has seen so far, and a testament to the rapid and accelerating growth of the sport in this country.

If 2012 is any indication of things to come, 2013 should dwarf the past year and see armwrestling continue to gather recognition within Australia.

We experienced a huge influx in interest in the sport during the last year, and have seen many exciting new competitors take part in their first competitions (many doing extremely well very quickly), and more seasoned competitors in this country improve and develop as serious armwrestlers. If 2012 is any indication of things to come, 2013 should dwarf the past year and see armwrestling continue to gather recognition as a true strength sport within Australia, as it is in many other countries across the world.

All of those involved in organising the competition and working through a long day to see that everything ran smoothly and professionally did an incredible job and without these people the day would not have been the success it was. Along with our sponsor, Bulk Nutrients, these people along with our competitors are the reason that these events can occur, and we cannot thank all of those involved enough for their efforts.

After the various state championships held throughout the year there was much talk about those who would dominate their divisions on the day, others who were previously unknown that may pose a threat, and the potential for some very exciting matches between some competitors who are now becoming regular rivals. There were some surprises, and some predicted outcomes, yet all gave their absolute best when they were on the table and those who walked away with a place had to work for it.


1. Grant Tolentino
2. Sam Saffuri
3. Jesse Johnson
4. Dominic Fiasco
5. Matthew Brown
6. John Bowley
7. Duan Beckett
8. Grant Durrington

Most in attendance assumed that the much more experienced Sam Saffuri would almost certainly walk away with 1st place in the 80kg left hand division. However, Grant Tolentino, in what was only his second competition, showed that he is to be considered a future force within Australian armwrestling, and surprised most by taking first place in an impressive display of power on the table. As always, Jesse Johnson was another strong competitor in this division, displaying an increasing level of focus and dedication as a competitor, not long after his impressive showing at the 2012 WAF championships.


1. Phil Rasmussen
2. Chris Saffuri
3. Rohan Dodds
4. Jarrod Riordan
5. Marcel Gieson
6. Jason Spruce
7. Andrew Lea
8. Rory Magnabosco

Even though the 90kg class was a hard fought division, the clear stand out competitors were Phil Rasmussen and Chris Saffuri, taking 1st and 2nd place respectively. Both men walked through all of their matches with relative ease (Chris winning the first confrontation between him and Phil for the day), and Chris entered the final in the strong position of not having conceded a loss. Unfortunately for Phil, this would mean having to beat Chris twice to place 1st himself.

In their first final match up there was a slip and the match then went to straps. Both men strained hard against each other when locked into the straps, and despite a technical dispute Phil managed to gain his first win against Chris quite quickly, setting him up with a confident entry in to what would be their deciding final. This final too went to straps, and once again Phil proved to be stronger on the day, backing up a list of impressive wins throughout the year.


1. Ryan Phillips
2. Nick Tiliacos
3. Ryan Scott
4. Damien Mullen
5. George Zakeidze
6. Nick Neff

Even though a slightly smaller division after many worked frantically to drop weight and enter the 90kg division, the 100kg division was no less exciting than its preceding weight classes. After walking away from the Queensland state championships without conceding a loss on the day, Ryan Phillips looked set to dominate, and even though he was awarded first place eventually, Nick Tiliacos made sure that Ryan knew that he had been there, and gave Ryan some incredible battles on the table. Winning powerfully against Ryan in a strap match leading up to their meeting in the final, Nick entered the final with the advantage of not conceding a match, yet Ryan came out ahead on the day taking two very hard fought wins against Nick. The two are fast becoming exciting rivals, and will provide great fights each time they meet.


1. Matthew Bacon
2. Peks Nanai
3. John Talo
4. Paul Wild

The 100kg + class, one of the smallest men’s classes for the day, was anything but a “small” class. With some very big men fighting against each other it seemed that the first place could almost go to anyone. However, with an extremely powerful press backed up by a very large frame, Matt Bacon proved that his left arm is undoubtedly something to be feared, even though Peks Nanai managed to hold of Matt’s press briefly. A big task in what was a big category.


1. Kortney Olsen
2. Evelina Linder
3. Lisa Kulasalu
4. Ally Bleach

The AAF was proud to offer for the first time on a national level an open women’s right hand class. Four women competed, and put on an impressive display of strength and ability, and unquestionably proving that this is not a sport for men only. Kortney Olsen convincingly placed first proving to be too powerful for her competition, although Evelina, Lisa, and Ally all displayed a great competitive fire, and will no doubt progress to make this a tougher class all the time. We hope to see the number of female athletes grow with each event, and see that the sport develops not just for men only.


1. Amir Singh
2. Jesse Johnson
3. Balraj Mann
4. Jason Deng

Another small class in terms of numbers, yet lack nothing in intensity. Once again, first place could well have gone to each competitor, but Amir Singh and Jesse Johnson both dominated. Although Jesse, stronger on the table after competing overseas, gave everything he had, Amir Singh convincingly took first place with a powerful hook that shut down Jesse’s top roll. Once Amir set himself up on the table he powered his way on to the winner’s position.

An exciting class that will continue to provide a great contest in the future!


1. Sam Saffuri
2. Grant Tolentino
3. Dominic Fiasco
4. Grant Durrington
5. Joe Hudec
6. Matthew Brown
7. Jay Puthusseri
8. John Bowley
9. Duan Beckett

Once again a hotly contested weight class, and Grant Tolentino looked strong again possibly posing a threat on both arms on the day to the favourite, Sam Saffuri. Sam was not about to let the right arm go that easily, and despite all others doing their best to hold him up, Sam proved his strength and experience on the table and yet again left his mark on Australian armwrestling.


1. Jamie Carle
2. Chris Saffuri
3. Phil Rasmussen
4. Rohan Dodds
5. Marcel Giesen
6. Tommy Zakeidze
7. Andrew Lea
8. Altin Banaj
9. Jason Spruce
10. Rory Magnabosco
11. Jarrod Riordan
12. Sammy Murdoca

Easily the biggest weight class of the day, the men’s 90kg category saw some great completion, some fantastic battles, and a small amount of controversy. Whoever walked away with the first place medal here was going to deserve it. It seemed as though the class was set to see a re-match between Chris Saffuri and Phil Rasmussen, much like Grant and Sam previously. This seemed to be the case until Jamie Carle walked up on to the competition platform. Jamie looked strong in all of his matches, despite a loss to Chris in their first meeting (once again setting up a difficult final in which Jamie would have to defeat Chris twice), Chris once again entering the finals undefeated.

The final blew out to several matches between Jamie and Chris, going to straps, and seeing the referees needing to work overtime to officiate these matches. Eventually, Jamie took first place after Chris elbow fouled twice therefore conceding the victory to Jamie in the first match Jamie needed to win, and Jamie sealed his place in their next match by once again proving to be too powerful for Chris in the straps.

An incredibly impressive performance in what was Jamie’s first competition. Definitely a competitor to watch.


1. Ryan Scott
2. Nick Tiliacos
3. Ryan Phillips
4. Steve Carter
5. Nick Nagy
6. Damian Mullen
7. George Zakeidze

Things weren’t to go as everyone may have expected in this category. The rivalry between Nick Tiliacos and Ryan Phillips had stirred up a slight frenzy and the two did not disappoint with several matches lasting longer than any other on the day. While Ryan and Nick were clashing against each other, slowly fatiguing themselves, a quiet and very impressive competitor from WA (fast becoming the state to take home more victories than any other), Ryan Scott, went about business on the table winning all of his matches very cleanly and quickly, going through both Nick and Ryan with relative ease. It now seems that Western Australia is without question a place to be reckoned with in Australian armwrestling with Jamie, Ryan, and Matt Bacon all taking home victories.


1. Adam Laura
2. John Talo
3. Peks Nanai
4. Matt Bacon
5. Peter Cutting
6. Paul Wild

As was a theme for the day, the men’s right hand 100kg+ category saw more competitors than its left equivalent, and a different set of results. Power was the order of the day in this category, and no competitor disappointed. Once again, Matt Bacon was strong, but showed an obviously preference for his left arm when competing. Peks Nanai was competitive yet again, but John Talo was too powerful on the day and relegated him to third position. This left John and Adam Laura, who were both yet to sacrifice a match, to face each other in the final. This confrontation resulted in three very hard fought matches, both men straining against the bulk and strength of each other, but Adam Laura proved to be too strong on the day, and took a very hard earned 1st place.


1. Matt Bacon
2. Phil Rasmussen
3. Peks Nanai
4. Grant Tolentino
5. Chris Saffuri
6. Sam Saffuri
7. Nick Tiliacos
8. Ryan Scott

Approaching the end of the day, many competitors were already sore and fatigued, leaving both overall classes open to either the absolute strongest, he who was better conditioned, or those who may have been able to recover quicker on the day. Many factors come into play when the field is evened out in such a way, however, absolute power will often override all other factors. All 1st and 2nd placed competitors looked strong once again, providing many exciting matches yet again, and despite what was occasionally a massive weight difference between competitors, many of the lighter guys proved that size doesn’t always matter. Phil Rasmussen proved that it he is a man to beat on the table, taking 2nd place after many difficult matches through the day only adding to his achievement, but it was Matt Bacon who once again proved to be too powerful on his left on the day, comfortably making his way through all of those who met him across the table.


1. Jamie Carle
2. Sam Saffuri
3. Nick Tiliacos
4. Ryan Scott
5. Adam Laura
6. Amir Singh
7. John Talo
8. Jesse Johnson
9. Chris Saffuri

Size may have eventually dwarfed the left hand overalls, but this was far from the case in the right hand overall class when 1st and 2nd place were taken out by Jamie Carle (90kg class) and Sam Saffuri (80kg), playing the role of giant killers in our last event of the day.

Fatigue in those competing at this point of the day began to show with elbow fouls occurring in many of the matches, and some frayed nerves making our referees jobs difficult under trying circumstances. After what were surely some of the most gruelling, painful matches of the day (it’s hard to go back and watch some of these matches, seeing how much effort is being poured into these final bids to take home the overall title for 2012), Jamie Carle seemed to get stronger with each match and added to what was already an impressive day for him, making him without question the man to watch on the right hand as we move into 2013.

At this point a special mention needs to go out to those who refereed on the day. The competitors have it hard, but those who were on stage all day have it harder and worked tirelessly to see that all matches were fair and even. A huge amount of attention goes in to the role of referee, and Brendan Downes, Ryan Phillips, Jason Deng, and Jesse Johnson all did an incredible job on the day. These events couldn’t occur without such volunteers offering their time and effort.

2012 Nationals Videos



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