rossendale free press 2005 . Lads are armed and very serious
ARM wrestling might not register as a sport to some, but four Rossendale lads certainly take it seriously.
In Russia , champions are given houses and cars, and in America contests are screened live on their own Arm TV channel.
And yet in Britain it is seen as an 'under sport' and not worthy of the coverage given to motor racing, darts and boxing.
Bacup brothers Stuart and Nick Hall hope to change that when they pit their strength against the world's best in Tokyo in November.
Nick, 33, of Industrial Street, is a former British champion and is ranked second in the under 100kg class.
Stuart, 30, of Bold Street, is right and left arm British champ in the under 80kg category. They have both been picked to represent Britain in the world championships.
For Nick it is his fourth world games and he hopes to beat his personal best of tenth.
Chris Murphy, 33, of Carlton Street, Bacup, is left arm British champion in the under 90kg class.
Completing the quartet is Tony Greenwood, of Haslingden Road, Rawtenstall, who was runner-up to Chris.
Nick said: 'The sport is not taken seriously in this country, but in America it is huge. Here darts is a well televised sport, but the competitors do not keep themselves fit like we do; arm wrestling is a very technical and skilled sport if you do it right.'
Nick has even set up Rossendale Arm Wrestling Club, with up to 12 arm wrestlers training every Wednesday night.
He said: 'There are about 18 members and we have various pieces of equipment, including a plate loader hand grips. We practise wrist curling and exercise the arm, chest and whole upper body.'
Diet and exercise is crucial as they compete in weight categories and the lads use Pioneer Gym in Bacup to help with training.
Chris, who is married to Elaine and has three children, said he got a lot of support from his family.
He concluded: 'In other countries we would be recognised for our sporting achievement, but sadly here the sport does not get the coverage.'