Westisle hoping to pioneer PEISAA arm wrestling

Eric McCarthy
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ELMSDALE - The Westisle Armover Club launched its in-school arm wrestling program Wednesday with a demonstration by 2003 World Champion, Charlie McGeoghegan, and his brother Jimmy who also has world arm wrestling experience on his resume.

Competitive arm wrestler, Jimmy McGeoghegan, left, takes on Westisle student Logan Griffin during the launch of Westisle Composite High School’s Armover Club earlier this week. Watching the action is 2003 World champion arm wrestler and P.E.I. MLA Charlie McGeoghegan, who was on hand for the launch.

Westisle electronics teacher Irwin Campbell has had the school's arm wrestling table in his classroom for the past month and said it has been getting lots of use before classes get underway.

"It generates a lot of interest," said Campbell.

He's hoping to see arm wrestling grow in much the same way that powerlifting has taken off, with other schools picking up the sport so provincial competitions can be held.

"It's something, when I was growing up, that was a fun thing to do. After seeing it in action, I realize the fun is still there," Campbell said. "They just love it."

Now that the club is officially launched, members can show up in Campbell's classroom during double lunch every Tuesday and Thursday to hone their skill and challenge schoolmates.

Campbell, as a teenager, arm wrestled his father's friends, and usually won. He described his technique: "You have to use so much shoulder and, if I knew I couldn't beat you, a lot of times I'd lock my arm. So what I'll do is tire you out, and then I will pop you over. If I know I can take you, I'll put you down as fast as I can. I'd probably twist my wrist to bring you in toward me, and what I want to do is open up your arm. As soon as I open your arm, it's harder for you."

The McGeoghegan brothers demonstrated to their attentive audience, the different techniques arm wrestlers use in trying to get the upper hand on their opponent.

Charlie offered to visit the school once or twice a month to provide arm wrestling tips to club members.

He competed in an event for people 19 and over when he was just 16 and finished second. He won the event pretty well every year after that, and won the world championship in 2003, beating the Russian's five-time world champion in the final.

World championships attract 1,200 to 1,600 competitors and is an intense experience, he revealed.

The year he won the world championship, McGeoghegan said his elbow was bothering him, so he rigged up a contraption in his boat with surgical tubing and practised his arm turns while sailing to and from port and during scallop tows.

The welding class at Westisle framed the school's arm wrestling table and the carpentry class made the table top. The upholstery was done by Terry MacLeod. Campbell's wife, Donna, applied the decals, the wording and the final touches.

One of the neat things about the Westisle table is it's reversible. Just pick the top off, flip it over and it goes from being a table for left-handers to one for right-hand competitions. The former world champ admitted he never saw one like that before.



Organizations: Campbell's

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