A bit of armless fun? - tell that to the new British armwrestling champion, who overcame a horrific break and septicaemia just months before powering to her crown.
Katrina Blackman, from Mannings Heath, took up the somewhat obscure sport 16 months ago back in September after deciding she needed a new hobby.
But just five months later, it looked as if the 47-year-old’s short sporting career was over after snapping her right arm in her very first competition.
Having got back on track after having plates and pins inserted in her arm, she then experienced the ‘horrendous’ ordeal of blood-poisoning disease septicaemia.
Despite being told she may never use that arm again, in December, the mother of three, powered to victory with her left arm in the British Novice Armwrestling Championships in Lancashire and took second on her troubled right arm.
Blackman said: “I just wanted it so badly, so to actually win it was a dream. The left arm one was a long match as I was slightly stronger, but when the arm gets to a certain pressure, there is so much that the arms slip apart.
“The referee will start the match again and tie your arms together and I have an amazing picture of me winning with our arms tied, I’m so proud of that.
“On my right arm, I have had so many nice comments. I have lots of friends in America where the sport is massive and the world champion there sent me a message saying it was an unbelievable achievement after what happened to my arm.
“I had plates and 14 pins, but the doctor said it would heal. I then had a tiny opening in my elbow and about a week later had full-blown septicaemia - they had to open the stitches, which was horrendous.
“It is in my mind every time I lift my arm up there (to wrestle) all I hear is that snap now, the championships was my first competition since and I was so worried about the pressure on it.
“Because of all of that I am so proud - but I am going to win it with that arm next year.”
Blackman, who is one of ten members of Pulborough-based club Sussex Arms, now has a chance at $40,000 cash prizes by getting to grips with the world’s best talent in Las Vegas.
She has already won the British qualifier and faces a European qualifier in London in March where the top three head to Vegas for a place in the World Armwrestling League.
She added: “Not many women do it and I originally started as I was sitting at home thinking, ‘I need a hobby’ and the only thing I could ever think I had been good at was armwrestling.
“I Googled it and found there were only five clubs in the south, luckily one was in Pulborough, so I went down there and they all love me there as I beat most of the men!”
Blackman, whose three daughters have also taken up the sport, is looking for sponsorship to help her progress.
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