PeSzy: Hello Didy! We met at the first IFA World Championships in Poland, Rumia. It was 2019. You were talking about your relationship with another discipline - Strong Man. Tell me exactly how it is?
Strongman Didy: Hello Piotr! Yes you are right, I am closed to strongman since 20 years. My friend is MARCEL MOSTERT, the chairman of company which organized SCL STRONGMAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE events all over the world during 20 years.
PeSzy: Where did the idea to combine these two sports come from?
Didy: The idea of “mixing" events in which armwrestlers can fight in the same place with the strongman came after several months of discussion, as well as after watching a large number of videos from around the world. For example: Eddy Hall training with Devon Laratt; Devon Larrat against Thor Bjornsson; Larry Wheels against Thor, etc which showed that armwrestlers and strongman and very interested in fighting together at armwrestling table even if thoses two sports are completely different in term of technique and strenght. As i am today PAL representative in FRANCE and current strongman (I won two times strongestman tittle of France). I think that it's a good idea to be in the same place, to know how much thoses sports can be compatible in term of image in the future. That is why I am negotiating with Kirill Yakovlev and Igor Mazurenko, who are studying the quastion.
PeSzy: You also recently took up armwrestling
Didy: Last year - my first year in armwrestling. I competed in France Federation of Force (which is affiliated to WAF) in March for French national championship where I won the Master + 40 years old class tittle left hand. After that, I was qualified to compete in WAF World Championship, but I decided by myself to compete in IFA World Championship, where i had the surprised to win the left hand and take the second place on the right hand in Grand Master category leaving behind Christopher Myers from USA. But more than that, during IFA competition, during ZLOTY TOUR and TOP 8 I met a lot of interesting people who are referees, armwrestlers, IFA representatives, and of course Igor and Anna Mazurenko, Anders Axlo, Kirill Yakovlev, Marcin Mielniczuk. And I decided to create a League of armwrestling in France with my friends (Gregory Schneider and his wife Nathalie, and of course David Mimoun who was my close friend who follow me and support me from the beginning). Today with my friends and after few months of discussions we are proud to have a build and strong League of armwrestling which is now affiliated to IFA with 80 motivated armwrestlers who are not following WAF but following IFA .We can say that we are one of 2 organizations of armwrestling in France (us and French Federation) who purposes different goals for athletes where everybody can find adapted solutions to compete in armwrestling.
PeSzy: Now we need to introduce you - as an athlete...
Didy: I have always practiced sports since I was young (tennis, cycling, athletics). I was always strong. When I born my body weight was 5 kg and as I was a farmer son I worked very hard when I was young. But when I was 34 I started to train in a gym (without training my body weight was 125 kg). Very soon I became strong and after 3 years of training I did bench press 225 kg / for reps, deadlift and squated over 300 kg for reps. After 3 years of training I started to compete and I won a few tittles in French Championship of powerlifting and took the second place in World Championship of bench press. But I didn't like the absence of atmosphere of powerlifting and I was feeling bad with my body weight of 150 kg. I discovered Strongman sports like a destiny for me. With the special trainings in 2001 I finished with the second place and with the first place in 2002 and 2003 in French Strongman Championship. After that I was 3 times on the second place. At that moment and especially in France strongman sports was concidered like a “sport of Bull” that is why I did not find the interest to train a lot. So I stopped. I was training in the gym just for a fun.
PeSzy: How did you meet armwrestling?
Didy: I met armwrestling 2 years ago like a joke because in the gym where i was training my friend show me an article in the local newspaper which was saying “If you feel strong, meet and fight against the world champion of armwrestling” (this world champion was a few times world champion in Grand Master class Alain Lanique). At the begining I didn't want but as everybody in my gym was pushing me I decided to take car to meet Alain. I took part to a funny competition in armwrestling which I won in front of 25 beginners like me. This day I met MAC GOMMIER who invited me to train in armwrestling in his club NANTES in France. At the begining I understood what means to loose all my matches against everybody and even against armwrestlers who where 40 kg lighter than me. And in a short time in 2019 I've won a few competitions (French master championship on the left and right hands, the left hand on Luxembourg beginner grand prix and World IFA Championship in Grand master category). But unfortunately in 2020 I have no competitions for the reasons everybody knows. And I am training very hard to compete again after quarantine.
PeSzy: Are you planning a career in a new sport?
Didy: Today I think it's too late to have some serious plan in my carrier of armwrestler (because I started at 51 years old). I love so much the adrenaline of competition, I find my motivation in each fight which procures myself the sensation to feel young and the fact is that I like to fight in sport. So armwrestling now is like a young miracle for me!
PeSzy: When did you first see a real armwrestling competition?
Didy: Last year I was present World IFA Championship, Zloty Tur and TOP 8, it's something amazing. I would like to thanks Mazurenko organisation for trusting us to represent them in France (Mazurenko French Equipment distributor etc ), IFA BOARD Anna, Anders, Marcin, Kirill for their help in developing of armwrestling in France. Of course special thanks to Elena Kuzmych who is investing lot of time, she gives advices for helping me to organize the first international PAL event in France as soon as possible.
What are your plans to devellopped armwrestling in France?
Didy: We have planed with David Minoun And Grégory Schneider to organized just after open board a big event of Armwrestling in the City of Dieppe. This Event will add, during 2 days one international IFA Grand Prix (we are waiting more than one hundred compétitors from Europ) and in second day (we are helping with Elena Kuzmitz who is working hard to give us all her expérience and expertise) we have planed to organized big PAL Event with more than 10 Vendettas. It will be the first biggest international event of all time and for that we have the support of MAZURENKO ORGANISATION with the coming of TOP 8 guest . We are ready and very excited about that just after quarantine.
PeSzy: Thanks for the interview.
Didy: Thank you PeSzy for a nice conversation. And see you how the virus will pass! And a very special thanks to Elena Kuzmych. And of course to my Best Friend HENRY RODOLAKIS president of French Fedération of Strongman who support me and help me since more than 15 years. And of course special thanks to ILLIA IZMAN for our future cooperation in Armwrestling World.