Kids Exhibit Muscle Power at NYC Junior Arm Wrestling Championship
Andrew Kendall of Elmhurst Crowned as MVP; Newtown HS Wins Team Title

MASPETH, QUEENS, NY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2002 - Boys and girls ages 8 to 17 took the stage before hundreds of cheering onlookers to battle for the individual titles and school honors last Sunday at the 24th Annual NYC Junior OPEN Arm Wrestling Championships, as part of The Queens Maspeth Street Fair '02, presented by the NYC Parks Department. High-School aged and younger boys and girls competed in separate weight classes in a crowded field of over 70. All were undeterred by threatening clouds and a brief downpour, and the event sponsors, Major World and Major Chrysler/Jeep of LIC passed out discount coupons to spectators, as youngsters from Maspeth garnered the most wins and the defending champions, Newtown High School held on to the Team Title it last won in 2000. The New York Arm Wrestling Association (NYAWA), which also manages the New York 'Golden Arm' Series and Empire State Final had to cancel the junior event last year due to the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Breezing through all comers to take titles in both the right- and left-handed 175-lb weight classes, an experienced Junior and amateur, Andrew Kendall of Elmhurst and Newtown HS was crowned as the day's MVP among the high-school competitors. Julio Espinal of Elmhurst was the second-place winner to Kendall in the right-handed contest, and Devin Worrel of Corona in the left-handed contest.

In the super-heavy weight class, Artun Nagpal of Elmhurst vanquished Gabriel Yak of Flushing, but the order was reversed when they fought left-handed -- "a surprising upset by Yak" of an experienced dual-handed favorite, according to Gene Camp, President of the NYAWA and the event's emcee. In the 150-lb middleweight class, Shaun Velazquez of Maspeth "put on quite a show, tenaciously beating back tough competition from second-place winner Worrel and others," Camp said. In the 132-lb lightweight class, Peter Wang of Elmhurst flash-pinned Rashdie Chowdhury, also from Elmhurst, who earned second place. Among the 105-lb featherweights, Matthew Putne of Elmhurst bested Angel Silva of Maspeth. The lightest class, 75-lb younger kids, featured Raphael Silva of Maspeth taking on and winning against all comers, with Michael Messina, also of Maspeth, taking second.

Among the girls, Emma Rae Anderson of Maspeth, a late entry, was named MVP and won the Open-Class, with Hailey Ann Mickulus of Maspeth second. Elizabeth Cameriero of Middle Village won the girls lightweight class (75-lb), with Cathleen Campbell of Maspeth taking second.

There also were three events for adults, to display for the kids some of the sport's top talent. In addition, warm ups, rules and lessons were held before events for all the newcomers. The adult MVP who won both the right and left-handed Open was Chris Selearis of Syosset, LI, who unseated Harry Wilson, the 2001's "NYC Arm Wrestler of the Year" with his right hand and beat John Papaiouanou of Flushing with his left. Selearis accomplished those feats despite a three-year hiatus from the sport. Anna Marie Sanna of Maspeth took first place and Yoland Owes of Brooklyn second place in the Women's Open.

Winners of this event over the age of 13 qualify for the amateur Empire State Golden Arm Finals, being held at the Empire State Building Observatory on Thursday, October 10th. The last qualifying event before the Finals will be held on Sunday, September 22nd at the 86th Street stage as part of the Columbus Avenue Festival in Manhattan, with weigh-in at 11 a.m. and start time 1 p.m.; the public is invited to enter or to watch. For more information, visit NewYorkArmWrestling.com or call (718) 544-4592.

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