500 competitors showing their muscles! After Orlando, Dieppe, the world capital of the arm wrestling


In front of the giant screen of the Novick Stadium in Dieppe (Seine-Maritime), it is the crowd of the big days. In the ring, a simple table dedicated to arm wrestling awaits the finalists of the first day of the World Championships in the discipline organized by the IFA (International Federation of Armwrestling). The sound system connects the hard rock classics as the clashes unfold. All around, coaches and friends must shout out their final instructions to be heard.

Often short, but always very intense, the duels follow one another under the watchful eye of two referees easily identifiable with their striped shirts. The winner then goes up, right next to the podium, to collect his medal and his title to the sound of his national anthem. Often with a lot of emotion.

On this last Tuesday in September, the youngest and the oldest compete in a multitude of categories. The strongest are expected from this Thursday. A real event for the corsair city where almost 500 competitors will battle until Sunday 2 October. And despite the Russian-Ukrainian conflict – two of the best nations in the world – 28 delegations from Poland, Finland, Georgia, Sweden, Japan and even the United States made the trip.

“Every time we meet great people”

“Last year it was in Orlando, Florida. And there, he is in Dieppe… ”smiles Didier Rolland-Plusquellec, co-organizer of this extraordinary meeting which, however, does not have the support of the French showdown officials attached to the federation of strength sports. A quarrel that doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm. “The important thing is to have managed to set up this competition with the support of Stéphane Novick, the local boss”, continues the solid.

At his side, the entrepreneur from Dieppe is happy to see the atmosphere of his restaurant, which already hosted the French “Strongman” Championships at the beginning of the summer. Is Dieppe going to become the muscle capital of France? “Initially it was the meetings that pushed me to get involved. And then from event to event, there is something that begins to take hold and that corresponds well to the spirit of the bar. So we will continue ”.

To see competitors from all countries chaining selfies in a good-natured atmosphere, we are also far from the clichés of the genre. “Every time we meet wonderful people,” enthuses Tony Hope, an American ferist who competes in the disabled category. “I lost my arm at the age of two in an accident.” This does not stop him from having maintained an impressive left arm thanks to which he has won numerous national titles for four years. “I’ve had a complicated life. I’ve touched a lot of drugs and got out of them thanks to sports, ”says the man from Montana, with a smile on his face. “But today I am clean and happy to leave my country for the first time by coming to Dieppe”.

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