As you would expect there are a lot of opinions relating to this topic, many of them supported by factual reference but that is relatively easy to do on this subject if you think honestly about it.
Let me start with this reference from the NE Board today ironically, its a response to this same question by Bill Collins the VP of the American Armwrestling Federation :Today at 11:07am, Bicio wrote:
Which are the rules of your federation about passing from
AMATEURS division to SENIOR/PRO ??
Thanks a lot
The USA federation has no official ruling....every one will have an opinion, nor is there a solid or an official interpretation..
Points that need to really be focussed on are :
Safety of the athletes.
ability and level of athletes involved (not based on isolated results in individual events BUT the genuine level of the athletes & everyone has got to be honest about this one)
Benefit or Detriment to the Tournament.
The aspirations of the athlete.
THATS IT REALLY, length of time competing is irrelevant as a specific consideratory element, it is ability that is the key factor. There are athletes that could pull for 100 years in a great camp and never be a Pro level puller, sure maybe on the face of it Armwrestling is not for them some might argue however IF THEY ENJOY IT, THEY ARE PROVIDING COMPETITION OF SOME DESCRIPTION FOR THE PROGRESSIVE ATHLETES AS THEY PASS THROUGH THE NOVICE DIVISIONS & THEY DO NOT EITHER ATTEMPT TO, NOR OR CAPABLE OF, HURTING ANOTHER LESS EXPERIENCED ATHLETE DUE TO A DISPARITY OF LEVEL, THEN FOR MY MONEY IT IS ACTUALLY AN ADVANTAGE TO HAVE THEM IN THE NOVICE DIVISION.
Phil Sampson is the apparent case in point here and there is NO DOUBT at all that this young puller is a progressive and promising Armwrestler, he is still eligible to pull in the Novice Championships IF he so desires though I don't expect that Phil will remain a Novice athlete for long. I am SURE that he has no intension of doing so either. I personally do not feel that its necessary to have young Mr. SAMPSON cut his Hair JUST YET
I am not advocating having Armwrestlers of a significantly higher level of ability than the rest of the field pull in Novice events (WHY EVER WOULD I !??! AS THE INDIVIDUAL WHO INVEST TIME AND RESOURCE INTO TRYING TO ENSURE AN EVENTS SUCCESS THAT WOULD SURELY BE COUNTER PRODUCTIVE !?) however I don't think that either Leon or Phil are at that level yet though both men are progressing extremely well.
Wayne Spicer was perhaps a better example he is a Puller with solid natural ability yet whom is clearly not as committed to the furtherment of his Armwrestling ability as someone like Paul Maiden who is EXTREMELY FOCUSSED on precisely that. Wayne is a sound puller BUT he is unlikely do spike in abilty all of a sudden and be challenging Andy Barker for the 90kg title. Wayne likes to pull at a level however provides reasonable competition for the Novice field without being too extreme and has yet to realize his full potential.
Jason Kelham is another solid puller BUT he has a very young family to attend to and this will no doubt absorb a significant amount of his time and restrict his degree of focus on the sport (AND RIGHTLY SO IN MY BOOK)..............THEN THERES THAT HAIR TO DRY
The rule is you cannot have won the British Novice Championship previously or won a Professional British (or other significant pro event) Title, ultimately we need to start focussing (as we have been doing recently) on attending events, not so much on reasons to restrict event entries.
The Hunger to progress should and WILL drive those athletes who aspire to attain accolades and attention, I believe that Phil Sampson won't need asking to progress his status in this sport too many times going forward.
I am not going to debate this one AGAIN guys simply because its ground which has been trodden before and to which there are numerous valid opinions, everyone focus on your own game and let the next man focus on his and we will get there together I'm sure. I hope that this has helped.
The very best of luck to all the athletes competing in Switzerland and Germany, stay safe and do your best