In Swedish, otur means unlucky or no luck. And it’s a word local arm wrestler Allan Heinricks certainly got to know on his recent trip to Sweden.
He was there to face off against pro-arm wrestlers – all pros, no handicapped contenders – from all over the world at the Golden Arm competition, held in Eskilstuna, Sweden on Feb. 16.
Wheelchair-bound Heinricks is well-known around Terrace for defying the odds and winning provincial, national, and world armwrestling championships. He’s never let his mobility limitations get the better of him, and has a drive for competition that never slows down.
But now, he’ll be forced to slow down as a bad infection in his feet has left him in terrible pain, and he was unable to perform to his full potential at the competition.
“When you’re competing, 100 per cent of your mind needs to go toward your opponent,” he said, noting that he had to take six T-3s to get through the competition. “But my mind was on my pain.”
He put up a good fight for his first pull against a many-time Swedish champion, he said, adding that while he still lost, he slowed his competitor down.
“I would’ve won if I was 100 per cent,” he said. “I hate to say it but it would’ve been easy.”
He’s been training to use a new technique, doing 145 pound curls, and says even though he needs to slow down to let his feet heal, that doesn’t mean he’ll stop training. He still plans to head to Vancouver to train and prepare for provincials in August. He says it’s tough to lose because he wants to perform well for the many people here who support him.
“When I don’t do well it’s a bummer,” he said.
But the pain wasn’t the only thing that went wrong on his trip – a laundry list of issues rounded out the trip: a broken foot brace, a small electrical malfunction that burned up his wheelchair charger, eyeglasses that were stepped on while getting off the plane, and several travel issues – one forgotton booking for his assistant in Sweden, and another mixed up booking that meant he and his assistant had to stay the night in London, at a cost of over $450.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said, speaking to the expense. “And that was the Holiday Inn, nothing fancy.”
But dispite the bad luck, Heinricks is in good spirits, as ever, and even says Sweden might be the best place he’s been so far, for the people and the scenery.
“It’s beautiful,” he said. “Just gorgeous. I want to go there in the summer sometime.”
And he also praised his assistant, Emily, who helped get him through some of the tough times in Europe, and all of the other people who have supported him.
“I just want them to know I really appreciate them helping.”