Kelowna, B.C. hosts 47th annual Armwrestling Championship

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Kelowna hosts 47th annual BC Armwrestling Championships
Dozens of competitors from across the province are in Kelowna this weekend, for the 47 annual B.C. Armwrestling Championship. As Jayden Wasney reports, those competing also have a unique opportunity to represent B.C. at the national level this summer in Nova Scotia. – Apr 23, 2023

Kelowna hosted the 47th annual BC Armwrestling Championships on Sunday, one of the biggest of its kind in the province.

The event boasts 18 weight classes and four different divisions for both right and left arms.

Over 200 athletes who entered the competition have the opportunity to compete at the nationals in Nova Scotia this summer, representing team BC.

“Hopefully, we can bring the biggest team we can,” said Keith Koenig, BC Armwrestling association president. “It depends on who can afford it, they have to get sponsorships to go, so hopefully we get at least 15 to 20 guys from British Columbia going out to the nationals.”

Koenig started the BC Wrist Wrestling Association in 1976 and been integral in growing the sport both provincially and nationally.

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“When I first started it was 90 per cent strength and 10 per cent technique, today it’s probably a 50/50 deal as far as technique and strength is concerned,” said Koenig. “These guys get very focused as you can imagine out there. The average contest lasts about three seconds.”

Before the event kicked off, Koenig announced he would be retiring from his role as president of the association after 47 years.

He says he has high hopes that arm-wrestling will continue to flourish and eventually become an Olympic sport.

“We’re getting closer and closer as a worlds association to getting Olympic Games, in fact we’ve got the Paralympics right now accepting arm wrestling, we’re closer and closer,” said Koenig. “That was my dream nearly 50 years ago was to have this be an Olympic sport.”

Vancouver competitor, Randy Sparling, says despite the pandemic forcing many to stay home, he decided to use that home time to his advantage, by taking up arm-wrestling.

“My dad sent me an arm-wrestling table to my house, and it came to the door, and I was like ‘what the heck is this,’ and he’s like ‘I think you would be good at this,’ so I started YouTubing and this and that, and I actually got pretty good at it,” said Sparling.

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Sparling says that gift from his dad changed his life, for the better.

“It bettered my life in every way, so it gives me goals, like I set goals and every time there’s an event, I have to make weight so I’m eating right I’m doing all the right things, it’s amazing,” said Sparling.

The Canadian National Armwrestling Championships will be held in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia from June 30 to July 3.

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