Armwrestling champ ready to “go for it” “I enjoy it,” he said. “It’s a one-on-one (sport). A battle of strength. When I’m on the (armwrestling) table, it’s just me and that other person, and we’ll see who’s the better person in the end.”


his first competition in 2014 in Alexandria. He finished seventh of 14 entrants in his divi- sion and after that he was hooked for sure. Smith has put his arms to the test in hun- dreds of bouts since Alexandria, including five of his most recent challenges since Canada Day this year. In 2015 he qualified for the nationals for the first time and went to Vancouver, B.C. to try his luck. Last year he was back in the nationals lineup, this time at Saskatoon, SK, where he won silver with his left arm and bronze with his right. That strong left arm performance ear- ned him a qualifying place in the World Armwrestling Federation Championships in Bulgaria in early October. According to WAF rules, he will be able to compete in both the right and left arm bouts. Now, besides training, and taking in a few more challenges between now and October, Smith is also working at finding sponsors to help him with some of his travel competi- tion expenses. Any business, service club, or individual interested in putting their name behind Smith for his chance at a world title can email him at smt_stlroofing@hotmail. com. Meanwhile, Smith offers advice to anyone, young or old, about the secret to being a champion at armwrestling or any other personal ambition or dream that they may have.. “Don’t ever give up. Set your mind to it, and go after it.”

Matthew Smith likes to get over to Rockland to visit his family whenever he can. The sheetmetal worker fromOttawa has a pretty major road trip in mind for him and his dad this fall though. All the way to Bulga- ria where Smith will be part of the Cana- dian delegation at theWorld Armwrestling Championships. “I’m really nervous,” Smith said, with a slight grin, during an interview Aug. 16 while in Rockland for a family visit. “It’s the plane ride.” While he admits that the thought of seve- ral hours flight with nothing but the deep Atlantic Ocean below creates a little unease, Smith is still excited also at the prospect of pitting his biceps and triceps against some of the best armwrestlers in Europe and Asia. Especially the ones from Russia and The Ukraine. “They’re the best,” he said. “But I think I should do fairly well. I’m going to take it all as a life experience.” Smith has been passionate about arm- wrestling since he was 12, the time when most boys, and some girls, are fascinated with the sport and the challenge of trying to make someone cry “Uncle!” with a fast and hard slamof their knuckles against a table or desk top. For most children, armwrestling is a phase, but for Smith it became his favourite sport as he grew older.

At 32, Smith stands about five-foot- ten, and these days he armwrestles in the 154-pound weight class. Besides his regular training regimen, his job as a sheetmetal worker also helps to keep him in condition. He got his sheetmetal ticket after taking the trade programat Algonquin College. It’s also where he discovered the competitive side of armwrestling. “I overhead a classmate talking about,” he said, adding that he also had a friendly bout with the guy. “I almost beat him.” After that he found out more about com- petitive armwrestling, and went on to enter

Matt Smith has been an avid armwrestler all his life. Now he’s got a shot at the international spotlight at the World Championships in Bulgaria. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

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