Sacre Bleu! The French Can Pull!
November 6th 2015
If and when Europe invades America, you probably don’t picture happening like this: led by a powerful young Frenchman with a long, flowing ponytail.
But in 2016, hold your scoffs, because when European armwrestlers land on American shores as part of the World Armwrestling League’s expanded International program, “Handsome” Aymeric Pradines could be in the vanguard.
“It’s a great opportunity, to qualify in London and have the honor to participate in the WAL in the USA,” the young Frenchman said.
A left arm heavyweight champ originally from Toulouse, Pradines has his eye on WAL’s first European events, set to kick off November 28 in six countries across the continent, including Sweden, France, Norway, The Netherlands and England. Germany will compete at a later date.
Headed by U.K.-based world champion and WAL announcer Neil Pickup, the series aims to boil down the top talent in armwrestling in Europe and then invite them to the U.S. to take on America’s heaviest hitters.
Competitors from each of the WAL Europe countries will battle it out next spring for the right to compete at the 2016 WAL Championships.
Pradines plans to be at the front of the European pack headed over the pond.
Despite only first stepping to the table in 2011, the 29-year-old physiotherapist has compiled a beastly track record across the continent, making his name in the French Nationals, the Xmen Armwrestling Open, the Arm Wars series and the Nemiroff World Cup.
“I love the intensity off the competition,” he said. “For me, it’s a mix between strength and a combat sport.”
If he makes it to the top WAL level, he knows he’ll face a difference in armwrestling philosophies, but he’s prepared, he said.
“American armwrestlers don’t have the same mentality and ways to pull,” he said of differing styles of competitors in Europe and America. “Also, they’re more show, and more trash talking during matches than the Europeans.”
Pradines is a multi-sport threat who turned a passion for power sports into an armwrestling affinity.
“I have interests and curiosity for different sports,” the 29-year-old physiotherapist said. “I practiced rugby, then I did power lifting, then I practiced MMA at the national level,” he said.
Then, through the power of YouTube, Pradines discovered armwrestling.
“A friend sent me a link, so I watched,” said Pradines, who now calls Brussels home. “And I said, ‘wow, great! It’s a real sport, and I want to try it.’”
“Then I tried it,” Aymeric continued. “And I loved it.”
Like his brethren, Aymeric emphasizes training hard and staying away from injuries, which become more perilous at the higher levels of the sport.
He said he cannot wait to step to the table against the greatest as part of the World Armwrestling League.
Game on, North America. You’ve been put on alert. The Europeans are coming! Click here for full details on the WAL Europe schedule.