The New York Arm Wrestling Association (NYAWA) held the NYC Sit-Down Arm Wrestling Championships on Sunday at Cheap Shots Sports Bar, located at 149-05 Union Turnpike. The event was the first sit-down arm wrestling competition in the past 12 years, according to Gene Camp, founder and president of NYAWA.
“It’s good to get back and it’s something new for some of [the competitors],” Camp said. “It really brings out the broad strength in people, to find out who the true winners are because people with signature techniques can’t really use them in this event because they are sitting down.”
Although the snow began falling before the competition began, more than 60 men and women flocked to the sports bar to show their strength and make it to the top.
The event, which was opened to all ages, featured individual categories for amateurs and pros, 45 to 50 years old and over, women, and right and left hand classes.
“I thought it was a great turnout. I didn’t expect this kind of turn out [because of the snow]. Some of the best arm wrestlers in the city and state were here today,” Camp said. “It was a good competition; there were some very good matches. It was exciting and the crowd was really riled up.”
Jason Vale, who grew up in Whitestone and now lives in Bellerose, was one of the competitors and top winners of the day. The 47-year-old has been arm wrestling with his right arm since he was 20 and in 1997 won a world championship.
During the sit-down tournament Vale earned two first place awards and was given the MVP Strongest Arm Right. He was also awarded a Captains of Crush Hand Grippers award, along with $100 cash prize, for strongest arm.
“It felt great competing again,” said Vale, who holds weekly arm wrestling practices at his home. “I just love it.”
Like Vale, Angel Cosme was another returning arm wrestling champ, who picked up the sport 15 years ago. The 48-year-old Flushing resident said he had been out of the game for three years and returned to help referee the match. He decided to compete in both the left and right hand categories and took home two first place awards and one second place.
“I feel good but I’m just tired,” Cosme said. “After being out for three years I know I need to start practicing again.”
David Milburn from Jamaica also took home a first place award in an amateur left hand category.
The NYAWA’s next competition will be the 38th Annual NYC Big Apple Grapple International on May 3. The location has yet to be determined.
For more information visit www.nycarms.com.