Slams His Way To Victory

A story about an arm wrestler whose not old enough to drink and whose age ends in "teen," slamming down the bulky forearms of men twice his age may sound like a wild tale for some, but for Edwin Safarian, it’s ancient history. Last year he won first place in his weight class and was named male MVP for 2000. He’s racked up two more MVP’s since then, and isn’t about to stop now.

Safarian participated in the 2000 Empire State Golden Arm Championship (held by the New York Arm Wrestling Association) last November and won first place as well as male MVP for the year. To see the then 16-year-old win first place in the open weight division was an astonishment to many and an embarrassment to the men twice his age whom Safarian had beaten to climb up the ranks.

"I’ve beaten guys with biceps bigger than my head," Safarian chuckled. What would go through the mind of a 30 or 40-year-old muscle-bound arm wrestler after getting slammed to the table by Edwin Safarian? "They’d be like, ‘what is this kid on?’" Safarian mused. "They’d feel dissed."
"He puts men down like they’re nothing," said Gene Camp, NYAWA president and founder. "He’s an arm wrestling superstar."

The former Flushing resident moved to Bayside last year and joined NYAWA in June. Safarian recently competed in NYAWA’s NYC Junior Arm Wrestling Championship held in Newtown High School in February, where he won first place in the open weight division and male MVP for the tournament.

"I mainly competed to go up against [pro arm wrestler] Mike Selearis," said Edwin Safarian. Selearis, who serves as a science teacher and a wrestling coach at Newtown, played referee for the event, and said that if Safarian could last three seconds with him he’d give the senior a Sony Playstation.

"They put the strap on me, and that was my downfall," Safarian said. The Bayside resident explained that the strap was a long strip of leather wrapped around the grapplers’ hands, binding them together. This was the first time arm wrestling with the strap on for Safarian, and it cut off the circulation of blood in his hand. The result wasn’t good for Safarian who almost lost instantly.

Safarian keeps his arms in good shape as he throws the shot-put for Bayside’s track team. Launching the ball at about 40.7’, the senior qualified to compete for the city title but couldn’t compete due to a back problem. "My doctor said to go easy on my back," said Safarian. So now he throws the discus for the track team, which he says is less strain on his back and weighs significantly less than the shot-put.

Safarian plans to participate in the Empire State Golden Arm Tournament on March 29 to be held on the top of the World Trade Center. As last year, the senior will go up against grapplers of all ages, but he has his sights set on going toe-to-toe, or arm-to-arm, with Selearis once more.

As for college, Safarian is an art major at Bayside and hopes to continue those studies at either Drexell College in Philadelphia or International School of Fine Arts in Florida. "I like to create using computer-generated animation," Safarian said.

Apparently beating men of any age and collecting first place and MVP awards is no challenge for Safarian. Only the professional forearm of Selearis is the Moby Dick to Safarian’s Ishmael. There’s little doubt of how well the Baysider will do come March 29, but how he’ll do against the his toughest challenge to date is anyone’s guess.


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