KUCHING: The 4th Premier 101 International Charity Armwrestling Championship is targeting more than 1,000 participants from all over the world.
Organising chairman Stephen Kee is confident that they (the organisers) can achieve that target as they are strongly backed by specialised armwrestling events promoter Igor Mazurenko and support from Malaysia Armwrestling Federation (MyArms).
“We are happy to announce that Mazurenko, who is Polish Armwrestling president and founder of Mazurenko Equipment, will be in Kuching on Jan 22 to help us with the promotion of the championship.
“Mazurenko has vast experience and knowledge on armwrestling and he has organised more than 100 professional armwrestling competitions including three World Armwrestling Championship since 2001 and five European Armwrestling Championship since 2003,” said Kee of the European Armwrestling Federation founder and a founder member of the World Armwrestling Federation.
Kee, who is Premier 101 Armwrestling Club president and deputy president of Malaysia Armwrestling Association (MyArms), said Mazurenko is expected to bring in elite pullers from all over the world to Kuching for the event scheduled Apr 5 to 6 at Premier 101 Commercial Centre.
“We are also honoured to be given the trust by MyArms, Sarawak Armwrestling Association and the Sarawak government to be the host again for this prestigious championship,” added Kee.
This event is organised by Premier 101 Armwrestling Club with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports and Sarawak Tourism Board.
Dato Sri Teng Chi Lik is the main sponsor and advisor of the championship.
Kee said for this year’s championship, he had specially flown in three units of Mazurenko armwrestling table from Poland which cost around Euro$12,500 whereas the transportation fee cost RM8,000.
Kee made the bookings for the tables with Mazurenko at the World Armwrestling Championship in Antalya, Turkey last October.
“Premier 101 Armwrestling Club is the only club in Asia that has now has the most number of Mazurenko armwrestling tables (4 units),” he said with pride in investing in equipment for the development and promotion of armwrestling not only in Sarawak but also in Malaysia.
The 4th Premier 101 International Charity Armwrestling Championship offers a total prize money of RM49,000 for winners of the 10 categories namely Men’s Open Right 75kg, 88kg, 95kg, 95kg & Above, Men’s Open Left 75kg, 90kg, 90kg & Above and Women’s Open Right 60kg, 75kg, 75kg & Above.
Among the countries that have confirmed participating are Kazakhstan, India, South Korea, Australia, Japan and Ukraine.
For the record, the first edition attracted 91 pullers and it grew to 240 pullers the following year and in last year’s third edition there was a record participation of 515 pullers from 20 countries.
Meanwhile, MyArms deputy president Zil Fadli is amazed with the growing popularity of armwrestling in Malaysia and especially in Sarawak.
The only Master Referee in Asia, who has officiated in the World Armwrestling Championship for five consecutive years, is also the head referee in Malaysia and the deputy president of Putrajaya Armwrestling Association.
“I have seen tremendous growth in the sport. In 2009 there were only one or two major armwrestling competitions in Malaysia but now we can see more than 20 major competitions being organised in a year all over the country including Sarawak, Melaka and Johor.
“The biggest one is the Premier 101 International Charity Armwrestling Championship in Kuching, Sarawak and it is considered the second biggest international competition after the World Armwrestling Championship.
“We have become the powerhouse in armwrestling in South-east Asia and we are doing very well at this level,” said the 35-year old Zil.
He also observed that Sarawak has plenty of potential pullers who can be groomed into world class material.
“You have a few good candidates in Sarawak especially the national number one junior Abigail Kee who will be our number one women candidate and our grandmaster (for pullers above 50 years old) candidate Kenny Choo and in the next two to five years we may have more candidates for the world championship.
With the big numbers of pullers, fans and supporters he wanted the government to look at the sport seriously such as introducing it as one of the events in Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) and later bringing it to higher levels.