Terrace’s arm wrestling mogul Allan Heinricks is back from nationals with a trio of new medals for his display case – and although he’s proud of his results, he can’t stop thinking about the bronze medal that was almost a gold.
“It should have been a gold,” he said, of the Disabled Men’s Right 70 kg match that took place at the National Arm Wrestling Championships in Timmons, Ontario June 28 to July 1. “I had less than half an inch to win and my elbow slipped off – twice.”
He says this half-jokingly, as is his nature. Heinricks isn’t one to be seriously discouraged by a misstep. But his competitive-streak always shines the brightest, and it’s clear he really wanted that gold.
But, he still received gold in the Grand Masters Men’s Right 90+ kg, and a silver in the Men’s Right 90 kg, meaning he’s qualified for worlds in Poland – a competition he’ll go to if he can raise enough money or gain the sponsorship of a community group or two.
He’s also looking to get a Terrace arm wrestling charity endorsed, which should help him with funding.
Perhaps part of his frustration with the bronze that should’ve been a gold is that this is one of the first competitions in a while he’s felt almost 100 per cent. A foot injury and a series of unfortunate events at worlds last year had him down on his luck – but he’s back now and ready to train with other arm wrestlers in Prince George and Vancouver, though he wishes he had someone to try out new techniques on.
“Technique is the biggest thing,” he said, noting he’s not always fast enough at the start of a match, mostly because of the paralyzed half of his body. “I lose because they’re faster than me – I’ve gotta get the technique to slow them down … without technique, strength means nothing.”
And while the Timmons airport wasn’t the most wheelchair accessible – Heinricks’ tournament success often hinges on how comfortable he is, which often has to do with how mobile he’s able to be – he said he was relieved to learn that one of the organizers of the tournament had arranged for a local woman with a wheelchair accessible van to chariot him around.
“I was so happy and relieved,” he said.
Next up, he’s looking to Gdynia, Poland at the beginning of September, or the Sweden Golden Arm in February of next year if that doesn’t pan out.
And, as always, he’s grateful for the support of the community who helps him travel to these events.
“I couldn’t do it without people in the community,” he said.