PeSzy: Anna Mazurenko wrote to me that we had excellent Championships.
Jonas Laursen: Indeed, we did!
Who organized them?
Jonas Laursen: Danish Armwrestling Federation (DAF) and Arden Armwrestlers in Arden-hallerne, Hvarrevej 6-8, 9510 Arden.
Jonas Laursen: They were first planned to be held on the 28th of March 2020. They were postponed because of Corona and held on the 9th of October 2021 between 12PM and 8PM.
PeSzy: How many competitors?
Almost 150 competitors in total, including visitors like Artur Glowinski and Anita Mustonen who did not compete in the nationals but held fantastic matches.
How many clubs?
Jonas Laursen: 10 (Arden Armwrestlers, Salling Full Pullers, Sydjysk-armbrydning, Randers Armsport, Aarhus Armwrestlers, Vestjysk Armwrestlers, Københavns Armbryderklub, Odense Armwrestlers, Grønland).
PeSzy: Is the number of clubs increasing?
Jonas Laursen: Yes, both the number of new clubs and the number of members in the older clubs. We have more clubs, and these are visible to club members. Therefore there is shorter distance between clubs and members can train in multiple at the same time. Also, when you ask if there is a club somewhere, the clubs now know what to say.
More below photo gallery...
IFA was founded in 2019. We therefore contacted IFA to find out if we could come, knowing that we were probably not among the best in the world, and we were quickly invited to join. As a result, we took 14 Danes to the IFA World Cup in Poland in 2019. We made national shirts and that created a lot of hype.
It was an incredible experience for us! We made so many new acquaintances and relationships that have since helped us bring the Danish championships to a new level. We were informed by Anders Axklo that Poland is the world's best in terms of making a professional setup, and seeing it in person inspired us greatly. We also learned a lot of things from the World Cup. For example, we found out that the other countries had brought a giant flag with them - which they used on the podium when they won. We did not bring one since everything was new to us. We are old Vikings and were quite ignorant. Therefore, when the competition was over, we opened a beer to enjoy the moment. We were quickly told that this was not allowed, which is why we went outside to enjoy our beers. This resulted in a friendly chat about alcohol percentages with none other than Tim Bresnan. It was so cool.
Arden took home 3 double world champions (Anna Grönlund, Nicolas Nyberg, and Nanna Dahl Hansen). Therefore, the Copenhagen club thought it could be great if Arden tried to host Danish championships in 2020.
Previously, we had a few small tournaments in Denmark, for example in cafes and bars. The nationals have always been held in Copenhagen and have been professional. Our team from Arden was proud of the task we were given and just wanted to do our best. We knew we would need a lot of money to do it the way we wanted to do it. Therefore, in the beginning we chose to apply for a lot of grants, sponsorships, etc. We built on the momentum we had from the World Championship in Poland. In addition, Arden had recently joined a skilled and financially sound sports association that's one of Denmark's oldest and has existed for more than 100 years. At the same time, we in Denmark had established the "Danish Armwrestling Federation (DAF)". A democratically led federation whose focus was not to ban the participants as the previous federation had done, but instead to unite the clubs and create a community. We welcome all to armwrestle! We also decided not to have any fee and it was going to be free for the first 2 years. We wanted to show what we could do on our feet without actual members-fee. We did a lot to show the clubs that we can do more when we work together, and we tried to help the clubs get organized. We helped the club to get club-jerseys, apply for grants and whatever we could help with. We guided new armwrestlers to the clubs.
There was no money from DAF, but sponsorships and help from IF Jarl Arden (Arden Sport Association) meant that we had some relative freedom - and that gave us opportunities. We spent a lot of energy and money on marketing. We had seen the delicious medals from IFA World Championship and got help from the Mazurenko Armwrestling Promotion. They made medals of a completely different quality than we previously have had in Danish tournaments. At the same time, we bought 100 t-shirts for the participants, as we knew this would help to create unity and togetherness. The participation fee was only DKK 200 so all could afford it. The jersey alone cost DKK 300. In addition, we bought approx. 100 medals. We had a financial loss per. participant at DKK 250 before hall rent, sound- and video-equipment and everything else. Our mission was to get as many participants as possible to join the contest. We knew if we did that it would have a paramount effect on the sport in Denmark.
We demanded that you represent a club to get the clubs activated, but also to make sure we were professional and avoid injuries. Some participants who did not have the opportunity to train in a club underwent a mandatory safety course before the competition started.
We were ready to hold the contest on March 28, 2020, but it was postponed for 18 months due to Corona restrictions. This was a blow as we had to start all over again on many things.
In the meantime, there has been a great development in our sport, and interest has grown. Arm-bet and YouTube have helped but we have also been better at promoting the sport. Many new clubs have been created and older clubs have developed. The clubs have also taken a huge responsibility in terms of promoting the sport and recruiting new members. Instead of us having to advertise in the clubs' Facebook groups, we now post info on the association's group, and the clubs themselves share the content. In general, we have tried to involve the clubs as much as possible in relation to the planning of the Danish championships. They have done excellent and now the clubs are working together!
Therefore, we have also got good unity in the clubs which we have regularly tried to visit before the contest. A completely new community has emerged, where the clubs in Denmark work well together. All this culminated in our Danish Championship 2021 in Arden.
We had 12 referees who all wore a specially designed referee jersey.
We had 2 referees visiting from Sweden. All head referees were certified, and we had a referee seminar before we started competition.
We received a distinguished visit from Anders Axklo who was an indispensable help in relation to running our event smoothly. We had high ambitions but never tried a setup like this before and were of course worried and exited. Anders called our setup "World-class" and "second to none". Doing the opening ceremony when he uttered: “Let me introduce this event as I have introduced World Championships and Zloty Tour for the last 10 years by saying: Ladies and Gentlemen: LET’S ARMWRESTLE!”, 150 competitors and around 500 audience members shouted and celebrated. It was at this point I knew we were going to get through the day.
We used Mazurenko's software and had printed out ID cards for everyone. At the same time, all participants received a keyhanger which was designed for the day itself. The setup with scanning the winners were new to us – but really effective!
We got a professional sound and video studio to come and help. Had light effects, DJ, a big stage with 4 tables with risers, and 3 giant projector screens in the background. On the screen in the middle we could show sponsors, advertising, and live video feed. On the other 2 screens there was tournament software and advertising. We had 4 tables and had 630 matches done from 12 PM to 7:45 PM, including a 25 min. break. This means that everything went well and exceeded our expectations. Several participants competed in several categories, which complicated things. But we had made a good plan on how to do the classes and in what order. Our livestream was a mix between the 4 cameras and 33,000 people watched it on Facebook. On the day itself, we gained 60 new members on our federal Facebook page and many of the clubs have subsequently had a large influx. We have been in almost all Danish newspapers and on TV channels and we made it clear to the participants, the audience, and the rest of Denmark that we are now a professional sport.
We had 2 halls to use and the foyer. We had a nice visit from Denmark's strongest woman and strongest man who had set up some exercises for the audience (farmer hold, big weight etc.). Kristine, who is Denmark's strongest woman, had also trained in arm wrestling. She participated and won Women's UPCOMERS which was a category for new women. We had an obstacle course setup and visits by the world champion in Obstacle Course Racing (Katja). We had the Rolling Thunder Challenge and a Thomas Inch Dumbell. The dumbbell was brought by European grip champion Simon Steward. There were many other activities for the audience. In addition, a huge playground was setup for the children in hall no. 2 and swimming pool, fitness was also open to the audience. There was an access to food and beverages doing the day – and yes also beer. Anders told us that this was never going to be permitted in Sweden – but we are still learning.
All in all, there was plenty of good people to support the event and there were free energy drinks, chips and more for both competitors and audience. Everything we did – we tried to do perfectly.
The idea here was to have an open environment for the audience who could walk around and try different things. Of course, we also put up 10 armwrestling tables for the audience to try the sport. One of them with a Krasi's Pulley and handles from Mazurenko and armsportstore.com. Armsportstore had sponsored straps and handles for the tournament.
We did not think the audience would stand for 8 hours and watch arm wrestling, but they did. They were pretty much all the time up at the front where the participants were competing. In fact, they were so close that the Secretariat repeatedly had to ask them to take a step back. A DJ was responsible for music throughout the event and Anders Axklo commented together with a couple of Danish commentators. It gave a tremendous dynamic, excitement and hype.
Lastly, we were close to 150 competitors! That’s 5 times as many as any other arm-wrestling tournament ever done in Denmark. Every competitor has been so happy and shared clips, photos, and info about the tournament on social media. The event has really helped to put armwrestling on the map in Denmark and that was our main goal. It was an incredible day that will be remembered for a long time. Our biggest challenge now is to re-do it next year!