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Kell shines on international stage

While draped in the Canadian flag, Garry Kell shows off the bronze medal he just won at the International Federation of Armwrestling World Championships in Rumia, Poland. CONTRIBUTED
While draped in the Canadian flag, Garry Kell shows off the bronze medal he just won at the International Federation of Armwrestling World Championships in Rumia, Poland. CONTRIBUTED - Corey LeBlanc

Antigonish arm wrestler wins bronze at world championships

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

ANTIGONISH - His powerful hands and vice-like handshake provide a hint of what sport Garry Kell has excelled in for almost three decades.
The latest arm wrestling accolade for the Antigonish native came on the international stage earlier this month when he captured bronze at the International Federation of Armwrestling World Championships in Rumia, Poland.     
“It was so exciting. I cried when I was on the podium,” the 50-year-old athlete said of his reaction to winning his first international medal.     
“It was just overwhelming when I realized what I was able to accomplish competing for my country.”     
During a two-day period at the world championships, Kell faced six opponents; three each in left-handed and right-handed matches in the classification for competitors with physical impairments.      
“It was tough,” he said of the physically demanding stretch.     
One day before capturing his podium position in the right-handed competition, Kell finished fourth amongst left-handed athletes.     
“It was a wonderful experience,” he said.     
It was the third world championships for Kell, who has also represented Canada in Ottawa (2003) and Kelowna (2008).     
“I got hooked and stayed with it,” Kell said, when asked about his start in the sport 27 years ago.     
His first match, on a whim, came in 1992 at the former Chuggles on James Street in Antigonish. He would end up finishing fourth in the right-handed competition at that local tournament.     
“You need strong wrists and hands,” Kell explained, when asked what is required to do well in arm wrestling.     
And, he stressed, patience is also a key to success.     
“You may be losing in a match, but you can’t give up. You have to have the drive to come back and win,” Kell explained.      
After almost 30 years, he continues to focus on staying prepared for matches, including sessions with his training partner Ed Wallace.     
He noted weight training is also important, along with cardio, which he now gets by playing another sport he has grown to love – sledge hockey, as part of the St. F.X. human kinetics’ program.     
“I love it,” Kell said of the time he now spends on the ice.     
His international bronze is just the most recent highlight in a year that Kell celebrated his golden birthday.     
In July, during his 10th appearance at the Canadian Armwrestling Federation Championships in Edmonton, he won silver and gold medals.     
“It has been an exciting year,” Kell said.     
That doesn’t mean he is resting on his laurels.     
“I am going to be training very hard this winter,” he noted.     
Kell has set his sights on competing in the 2020 national championships in July in Winnipeg and then a mid-September return to the world  competition, which will take place in Orlando, Florida.     
“I am not satisfied. I want to get gold,” he said of his plans when he returns to the international stage.     
Kell thanked everyone for their ongoing support, financially and otherwise, including people who flooded social media with messages of support while he was in Poland.     
“It was awesome,” he said.
 

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