Arm wrestling stars flock to Russia

The European arm wrestling championships are 20 years old this season – a good time for Moscow to play host to the continent's best.

The 20th anniversary of the European arm wrestling championship was marked in style.

A week-long event saw kids, adults and athletes with disabilities battle it out one-on-one in the Moscow region.

The seniors’ event was held on Friday, where men and women battled for the gold medal in left hand combat. Russia’s arm wrestling team has been unrivaled in Europe since 1995. Whether it is juniors, seasoned professionals or veterans – Russia’s domination is felt across the board.

But this year there was an unlikely surprise from the get go, as Swedish women's champion, rookie Sara Beckman, defeated the Russian world champion.

There was a Russian athlete in almost every single final on Friday, though not all of them managed to triumph on the night, which really proves that the competition is evolving, with bright stars emerging from countries other than Russia.

Arm wrestling is indeed a professional sport. The athletes’ passion, thirst for victory and intensive training are easily comparable to many events recognized by the Olympic movement.

However, this sport is still far from attaining that much-desired Olympic status – although there is hope.

”At the moment we have too many weight categories and we know that's not according to the Olympic requirements. We must and will change that. Plus we need to work further on the international organization of our events. But really it all depends on how hard we will work to achieve this goal and I hope that arm wrestling will eventually become an Olympic event,” president of the Russian Arm Wrestling Association, Aleksandr Filimonov, explains.