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Arm wrestlers flex muscle

Fadhil Yunus

The Malay word berambit, derived from the term ‘arm wrestling’, has long been deeply rooted in Brunei Darussalam sporting culture yet is still less known among a certain group of people, especially among the younger generation.

But when one mentions arm wrestling or the literal translation of gusti lengan, only then they will be able to know where berambit originally comes from.

In an effort to enhance and revive the sport in the community, the Brunei Arm Wrestling Association is now actively promoting the sport in various ways.

The Brunei Arm Wresting Association was first established on December 6, 2017 led by Pengiran Haji Mohammad Yusren bin Pengiran Haji Mohd Daud as its president.

Currently, there are more than 90 members in the association and the Gym Muscle Factory based in Kampong Sengkurong has been utilised as their training venue.

Previously, arm wrestling was one of the sports which was not considered foreign to the community and was once seen as an activity performed during gatherings among family members and friends.

Most people assume that the sport activity requires physical strength, besides also leading to injury if making a wrong step.

Arm wrestling involves two participants who will contest either in the left or right position by holding and locking each other’s hands.

In playing the sport, several rules must also be complied with, such as using the knockout format whereby the player who loses for a second time will be eliminated from competition and the player who wins will proceed to the next round. The game is played by forcing the opponent’s hand to the table top and the player whose hand collapses loses. Only the right hand is allowed to be used during the competition. Each player is not allowed to wear any accessory such as a watch, ring and the like.

According to Pengiran Haji Mohammad Yusren, each player who plays in the country will follow standard rules set by the World Arm Wrestling Federation.

Even though the association has been formed for more than four years, it is still considered in a developing stage.

As with any other association in the country, the Brunei Arm Wrestling Federation has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the country and the world. It has also frustrated the efforts and plans of the association.

Nevertheless, it did not dampen the spirits of the association’s members to continuously train individually. In terms of achievements since its establishment, the association has succeeded in organising several competitions besides joining international competitions like in Kuching, Sarawak where local athletes finished among the top 25 participants as well as the Borneo Sports in Sabah.

On future plans, the association hopes to develop and progress the sport by attracting more enthusiasts, especially the younger generation, in addition to being determined to bring the sport to reach the international arena.

At the end of last year, the association conducted an arm wrestling workshop, organised in conjunction with Brunei December Festival (BDF) 2021, as one of the efforts to introduce the sport to the public.

Among the matters discussed during the online seminar through the Zoom application included an explanation on why arm wrestling is increasingly popular; the association’s upcoming plans; national athlete selection; involvement in the International Federation of Armwrestling (IFA) events; and goals to achieve within the next five years.

Those interested in participating can contact the association at the Gym Muscle Factory in Sengkurong.

Those starting with the sport have also been called to attend training as well as obtain guidance from a professional coach as a newcomer will not immediately sit at the table.

This is because an arm wrestling technique does not only encompass wrestling but also various exercises, such as building muscle mass, using a special nutritional system and designing an individual regimen for each athlete.

A newcomer who instantly begins training with a fight quite often leads to injury. Thus, it is imperative for newcomers and sport enthusiasts to learn and understand every rule of the sport.

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