Just to nail this issue one & for all :-
1.) The Most significant consideration should always be the safety of athletes at the table & the maximum risk level in the sport is realized when two novices are matched together, due to numerous factors but most importantly the lack of directional awareness that each one has, both in their attack & defense. Coupled with their lack of body shaping to absorb pressure changes outside of their body's elastic limits and bone lines. Novices are actually much safer when Armwrestling against experienced Pullers (unless the experienced Puller is intensionally trying to inflict damage on the Novice Pullers Arm, a thought which DIGUSTS me personally as it should any REAL Armwrestler).
2.) Development of the sport is of critical importance sure, (I'm clearly committed to helping to achieve Global recognition for our sport) BUT the Cold Hard Fact is that we are not all going to become Rustam Babyev just because we have been pulling for 5 years ! (I have been playing Snooker since I was Six years old & yet I don't feel that ANY half decent Pro Player would lose very much Money against me at The Crucible). Some Pullers will quite simply never attain the Elite or even National Pro level of Armwrestling ability & will always be at a Novice level. This Myth that when new Pullers come into our Sport they can be systematically fed to THE LIONS in Novice events is just unfounded and a little Ridiculous. I feel that it stemms partly from over inflated perceptions of our own level as a Nation of Armwrestlers. I can assure everyone that there are very few Armwrestlers if ANY, in todays novice events whom are currently of an exceptional standard. A fact which will be proved I have no doubt when an athlete or athletes of truly exceptional ability comes into the sport as a Novice......& that day will come. I don't know when BUT it will.
An individuals progress in our sport, may be due to the fact that they are only partially committed to Armwrestling or to the fact that they are not genetically suited to the sport quite as well as other Pullers might be however (in the case of the later) this certainly does not mean that they necessarily love the sport any less and should be restricted from competing on a level playing field.
By Breeding & then perpetuating the perception that an Armwrestler can simply walk into the sport and become a Champion in a year or two is FAR more likely to lead to Pullers leaving the Sport, as new athletes get unrealistic aspirations which will be VERY QUICKLY EXPOSED when they start to Pull higher level Tournaments, which they will not be prepared for, due to a lack of technical & mental experience. Armwrestling is a game of years, it envolves MUTIPLE LAYERS of Physical & Mental Strength & Skill which are developed by increasingly difficult competition over years. (Sure their are Phenoms, athletes with a remarkable degree of Natural ability for the Sport BUT these athletes are an exception and NOT A RULE OF THUMB).
One of the reasons that Armwrestling in the UK is struggling to find higher level Athletes is becasue we all appear to be looking for ways in which we can constantly lower the Bar to acheiving success in the Sport. I personally believe that this is TOTALLY counter productive & ultimately will hold you ALL back. More Classes, Divisions, Levels will not assist at all, it will simply serve to water down the level & as a result the ability across our athletes will take a downward spiral. "IRON SHARPENS IRON", FACT. The first thing which we need to eradicate is the Macho & Misinformed perception that IF you happen to lose an Armwrestling match you are WEAK or in some way less of a Man. THATS RIDICULOUS & TOTALLY COUNTER PRODUCTIVE TO THE END GAME FOR OUR SPORT. If you lose, you just lost a match for what could be a variety of reasons, EVERYBODY loses at some points in their career, TRUST ME, EVERYBODY. BRZENK, LARRATT, BABYEV, LILAEV ALL OF THEM !!! A real Armwrestler takes it on the Beak, Dusts themself down & trys to evaluate the factors which lead to the loss as Honestly as possible, before seeking to improve the areas of weakness.
Armwrestling is a Strength & Combat Sport & as such it will always have a high turnover of athletes, just as Strongman, Boxing, MMA or Powerlifting has. 10 will come & vanish for every Ian Stones & Chris Waters (BOTH OF WHOM ARE REAL ARMWRESTLERS.....WARRIORS) who have gritted their Teeth & Dug in their Heels. There are enough Divisions & classes in the Sport (IF ANYTHING TOO MANY) all to cater to those who want to Wear a Medal which was easy to earn. The sad truth is that when you step out of the Shallow End here in domestic Novice competition, the Water will seem Dark & Dangerous if you have never really learned to Swim ! Wake up Guys & don't be afraid to learn because its a very fulfilling feeling KNOWING THAT YOU CAN SWIM IN ANY WATERS AROUND THE WORLD.
The Official ruling is that once you have won the British Novice Championships, then you are unable to pull in the Novice category again ( I personally don't 100% agree with that ruling either lol BUT thats how it is). IF YOU WANT THE TRUTH then here it is - Its about the aspirations of the individual athlete. IF you just want to be a Novice Armwrestler all your life then why shouldn't you be able to !? however you do so knowing that you will never then be anything more than that. IF however you are serious & you want to progress in the Sport then sooner or later you won't need anyone to TELL YOU that you have to move out of the Novices, you will seek out BIGGER, BETTER, TOUGHER, CHALLENGES because its what you truly desire from the Sport. Safety is a GENUINE consideration BUT IN ACTUALITY eveything else is about personal pride & status (which can only be very partially acheived in the Novice Ranks.......so why all the fuss !?) IF I ever saw ANYONE trying to intensionally injure a Novice athlete in competition I would eliminate them from the Tournament with immediate effect and lose respect for them as an athlete. I lose not an ounce of respect for an athlete who happens to lose an Armwrestling match BUT they earn more & more from me EVRY TIME that I see them step back to the table in or out of competition seeking to better themselves.
If anyone REALLY wants to help the sport, then TEACH the new Guys how to REALLY ARMWRESTLE SAFELY & TECHNICALLY, don't just Armwrestle them at training days to show them (& prove to yourself) how much better & stronger than them you are.......ACTUALLY TRAIN THEM TECHNICALLY. Then the event organisers won't have so many concerns about them potentially running into the Big Bad Novice Wolf.....that seems to exist so vividly in everyone imagination
I hope that this helps to clarify things further & explode some of the more salient considerations as they really are & I will field any questions prior to the British Novice Championships where I will address this topic for 30 minutes prior to the weigh-ins on November the 12th at the Crofters
Thanks for your attention & consideration