Arm wrestling as a high school sport has grown in strength across the region.

On Friday, March 24, the first ever East Region Arm Wrestling Tournament took place at École secondaire régional catholique de Hawkesbury (ESCRH) with a total of 13 schools from across Eastern Ontario. About 180 students in total participated. The event was officially sanctioned by the Ontario Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations (OFSSA).

ESCRH Physical Education Teacher Philippe Lauzon restarted that school’s arm-wrestling club earlier in the current school year. Nearby, interest in the sport was increasing at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute (VCI). Lauzon and VCI Physical Education Teacher Dan Tremblay decided to organize the tournament.

“There’s a lot of hype on social media about arm wrestling,” said Lauzon.

He said the students interested in arm wrestling are not those usually interested in the more team-oriented sports such as volleyball and basketball. They’re generally students who are more interested in developing personal strength.

“It’s another group of students that’s represented,” Lauzon said.

About 30 male and female students from ESCRH took part in the tournament held at their school. According to Tremblay, VCI had 11 male competitors there. He said interest in arm wrestling has been building in recent months, which led to the tournament.

“We saw it coming, just because of how it’s been developing at our school,” Tremblay said.

There was arm wrestling star power at the ESCRH tournament. Devon Larratt, the top arm wrestler in North America was there, enthusiastically cheering on competitors and livestreaming the whole event. Larratt, a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces Special Operations Command who served seven deployments in Afghanistan, has been arm wrestling since he was 18.

“I’m so happy to see it in the schools,” Larratt said.

He is hoping to see the sport continue to grow in schools across Canada.

Larratt’s own children are students at South Carleton High School (SCHS) in Richmond and were competing at the tournament in Hawkesbury. ESCRH, VCI, Glengarry District High School (GDHS) of Alexandria, and SCHS dominated all weight and age categories at the tournament.

To view the results of the East Region Arm Wrestling Tournament held at ESCRH, and to watch the YouTube video of the livestream of the event, go to .

East Region Arm Wrestling Tournament video and photos by James Morgan