IFA President Anders Axklo: As 2022 comes to an end there are a few things that have affected the world in very unusual ways, The beginning of the year was still very much affected by the pandemic, although it seemed to be coming to an end, and we could finally start planning for major international events in full scale again. Then the Russian invasion of Ukraine happened, and we, as most of the world, where horrified. The catastrophe and darkness that came over our friends, and in some cases family, in the Ukraine once again put armwrestling in the backseat, and in perspective of a war hitting a country that has been so central to our sport, the troubles we have in the armwrestling community seemed of very little importance. ()
Yes, we have a divided community in our sport, due to the fact that a corrupt leadership in what is supposed to be a democratic world federation took it upon themselves to try to stop people from practicing the sport of armwrestling, and to try and force some people out of the sport. Because of this we were forced to start a federation that would allow people to compete and practice their sport as they choose, and it has been a rough ride. The European Champioships were held in Poland, and for the first time we brought the World Championships to France, with all the work and the challenges this presented to a young member federation, operating under the threat of the old corrupt federation once again attempting to stop people from armwrestling.
Many other international and national championships have of course taken place, and in some ways, we are glad to see our sport is thriving and growing. There are a lot of promotions around doing well, and we are thankful and congratulate them.
Still, most of these are by invitation and selection, and the sport of armwrestling is in screaming need of an international scene to which you are free to go and compete, without being invited or being friends with the promotor, or even banned from competing elsewhere due to somebody elses random whims.
It is the dream and mission of the IFA I helped start to bring the sport of armwrestling back to a situation where the armwrestlers are free to choose where and when they want to compete. Where those without youtube accounts and thousands of followers also are free to practice there sport, in their own good time and not by invitation only.
As we move into a new year I hope that the division in the sport is not normalized, and the idea that one has to choose where to compete not to be banned is erased out of our sport. IFA has always, and will always, welcome everybody who wants to armwrestle. We hope that this will soon be true of all armwrestling organisations, although it seems far of in the shadow of corruption and self-interest. When it does happen, our spoirt will be able to move on.
But back to where I started, all this is of little importance, compared to the horrifying fact that Ukraine where so many of our armwrestling brothers and sisters live has been unjustly attacked and invaded, and people ere in fact dying. That is the most important thing to focus on as we move into 2023.
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