The following editorial appears in the November 1998 issue of the ArmSport Newsletter along with stories, results and pictures from many of the tournaments held on October, November and December 1998. The ArmSport Newsletter is an independent publication that prints information regardless of armwrestling organization affiliation. To subscribe to the ArmSports Newsletter send check or money order (in US $ ) for $12 U.S., $14 Canadian to: ArmSport, Box 746, Billings, Montana 59103. Past issues can be purchased for $2.50 each.

 Guest Editorial
by Denise Wattles

This has been the most difficult issue of ArmSport that I have ever published. The organized sport of armwrestling is in more disarray at this point than it ever has been. In this issue there are results from two WAF World Championships, One in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and one in Cairo, Egypt. I will explain the reason for that to the best of my ability. I have been active in the promotion of armwrestling since 1985 and have personally run over 400 tournaments. In 1998 alone I personally ran 36 tournaments in 15 states and was used for staff in 3 countries. Many of you know me, and know that I have always done my best to stay neutral in the issues of armwrestling associations. I have ALWAYS promoted, and passed out flyers for any tournaments that were taking place regardless of which association was sanctioning the event. It is not my duty to take it upon myself to decide when or where an armwrestler may, or may not, compete. You are all adults and you can make that decision on your own. It is my duty to provide you with all the information I can about the location of tournaments. This is why I publish ArmSport and print any and all information which is provided to me. I go out of my way to get information from other associations so the armwrestler is given every opportunity to compete wherever they would like. This has become more difficult as the time passes. I have also tried to keep politics out of the things I do, but unfortunately, this is not always possible due to the actions of the Officers in associations, and not the associations themselves as a whole. The actions taken by the Officers of WAF (World ArmSport Federation) and AAA (American Armwrestling Association) are severely affecting the armwrestlers and I cannot sit back and let it go unreported. My first concern has always been the armwrestler and that has not changed. I feel the general population of armwrestlers need to be brought up-to-date on the issues that are affecting their participation in the sport Nationally and Internationally.

I feel it necessary to provide some history on the attitude of the American Armwrestling Assn., (AAA), in particular as AAA is the one organization I have had the most personal contentious contact with as a promoter for the United States Wristwrestling/Armwrestling Assn.. AAA has many quality Promoters/Directors including Mary McConnaughey, Robert Redden, David Randall, Brian Stevenson, Frank & Karen Bean, Greg Wilson, Sam Cooper and probably others whom I have not met, but I have had very bad experiences with 3 of their representatives. So serious, in fact, that the USWA/USAA and I are currently in court with Mitch & Deborah Cady, Washington State AAA Directors, and also the American Armwrestling Association and Bob O’Leary himself. The charges are: interference with a business contract and also business slander. Mitch Cady was convicted of interference with a business contract for his part in the sabotage of two tournaments that were contracted by the USWA/USAA to be held in the state of Washington, October 1997. The American Armwrestling Assn. is included in the litigation as Mitch was representing the AAA when he interfered and also because the AAA Executive Board of Directors were aware of his interference and sanctioned the tournaments anyway. (I do have documentation for these statements) The AAA Executive Board of Directors was sent 2 formal complaints about the interference and a tape-recorded phone conversation with Mitch Cady, made with his knowledge, weeks prior to the scheduled events. This indicates to me that the AAA approved of the use of an illegal business practice to interfere with a tournament. The litigation with AAA, Bob O’Leary and Mitch & Deborah Cady continues until this day.

In October 1996 I attended the WAF World Championship that was held in Virginia Beach, Virginia and hosted by Steve Stanaway. I went as a representative of the USWA/USAA to meet the participants and to pass out a calendar of events to the wrestlers so they may attend events sanctioned by the USWA/USAA if they wished to do so. (Keep in mind, I have passed out AAA information at my tournaments in the past and continue to do so). I had no ulterior motive other than to promote armwrestling. I paid for the trip out of my own pocket and had anticipated seeing an exceptional tournament and meeting some of the armwrestlers I had been talking to on the phone for years. The reception I received was one I could have never imagined! Sue Patton and Steve Stanaway threatened to have me arrested on-the-spot and removed from the premises and also banned from the tournament for the "crime" of passing out tournament flyers. Now that is how to promote armwrestling.............(I did not hand out anymore flyers and did attend the tournament)

Even years before this, the USWA/USAA had tried to pay for advertising space in the Arm Bender Magazine only to be told, by Bob O’Leary himself, "The Arm Bender Magazine is to promote AAA, not other associations tournaments." When is AAA going to start promoting armwrestling as a sport and letting the armwrestlers decide for themselves which tournaments to attend?? I have first hand knowledge, in print and verbally, that Bob O’Leary and his fellow Officers in both AAA and WAF actively encourage the boycotting of non-WAF and non-AAA sanctioned tournaments. They also actively discourage participation by any armwrestler in any of these same tournaments. AAA has gone so far as to threaten to expel any Director or Board member if they participate in any non-sanctioned tournaments. Is this the proper method to use to expand the sport and to have it accepted into the Olympics??? You can make that judgment yourself.

This leads me to the issue at hand, two World Armsport Federations. At the heart of this issue are the officers of the WAF and also the President of the AAA, Bob O’Leary, who has apparently carried his practices over into the operation of the World Armsport Federation (before Oct. 1998) of which he was also President. I surmise this for the following reason: In October 1997 at the World Congress Meeting during the WAF World Championship in Calcutta, India that was attended by the World leaders in armwrestling, a vote was taken by the Continental Body Presidents, and the member countries, as to where the 1998 WAF World Championships would be held. It was voted to be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada unanimously. The tournament was to be hosted by the Canadian Arm Wrestling Federation (CAWF) of which Fred Roy is President. At that very same tournament there was a disagreement between Fred Roy & Bob O’Leary, President of WAF. Unbeknownst to Fred, at the same time, Bob O’Leary and Barij Baran Das, General Secretary of WAF, were discussing with General Osman, of Egypt, the possibility of him hosting the World Championship in Egypt in 1998 even though the Executive Board of WAF and the member countries had already voted and decided unanimously to hold the tournament in Canada. Because of the disagreement between Fred Roy and Bob O’Leary it was decided, (without a vote of the Continental Presidents), to hold the WAF Worlds in Egypt. This was proven to me by the support and attendance of 4, out of 6, of the Continental Presidents at the WAF World Championship in Thunder Bay and their attendance at the World Congress meeting on October 18, 1998. In attendance were: Humberto Panzetti from Brazil, Mitsuo Endo from Japan, Igor Akhmedshin from Russia and Fred Roy from Canada. Also in attendance at the meeting were: Harri Naskali from Finland and David Eilerstein from Norway. All these representatives have been major supporters and officers in the World Armsport Federation for many years under the direction of Bob O’Leary. It was my observation at the World Congress meeting that these men are very disgusted at the way things have been handled and they are ready for this change. They attended the tournament in Canada because they had voted democratically, in India, that Thunder Bay would be the site for the WAF World Championship in 1998. They also brought very large teams of athletes to compete in the tournament. These men had enough integrity, business sense and decency to stand by their word and not be influenced by the whims and temperaments of others.

I have published the results from both of the tournaments as the armwrestlers from both tournaments earned and deserve the right of recognition. Every one of them has worked exceptionally hard to excel in a sport that we all want to advance to the Olympics. The decision of who to follow in that quest is all up to them. My first question to anyone I meet at a tournament will still be "Are you an armwrestler? " and not "What armwrestling association are you a member of ?"



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