Arm wrestling champ returns to Eskasoni to mentor young athletes
Published Thursday, April 13, 2017 11:56AM ADT
A man known as the Mi’kmaq Arm Wrestling Champion is back home in Cape Breton, mentoring other young athletes who are trying to make their mark.
Trevor Sanipass says his passion for arm wrestling developed in the basement of his Eskasoni First Nation home, where he and his older brothers would spend countless hours sitting at a table, doing what they loved best.
“I consider my family to be the arm wrestling family,” says Sanipass. “We just got a knack for it.”
Sanipass says he especially admired his brother David, who was an Atlantic arm wrestling champion as a teenager.
“David was my inspiration. Just reading about him in local newspapers, I thought it was great just reading about my brother and seeing him,” says Sanipass. “I really wanted to be like him, actually.”
Now, Sanipass is mentoring people who want to be like him. He is back in Eskasoni, N.S. this week, passing along training tips and life lessons to young arm wrestlers hoping to compete provincially and nationally.
Meanwhile, a film crew is following him around as they shoot a special documentary on aboriginal arm wrestlers across Canada.
“I didn’t have that opportunity to listen or hear from other arm wrestlers, what were my wrongs, my weaknesses, and strengths?” says Sanipass. “So right now, I try to pass that on.”
“Best arm wrestler I know around here,” says local resident Noel Francis. “He just gets me, where I want to get with arm wrestling, because I can’t do it on my own.”
Sanipass placed third at the Canadian Arm Wrestling Championship in Charlottetown three years ago. While he doesn’t compete anymore – he now focuses on coaching and mentoring instead – he says medaling at home in the Maritimes was one of the best moments of his career.
“Top three in Canada? That was my highlight.”
He says he’s encouraged by the number of First Nations youth picking up the sport, and he believes the Maritimes could be home to more champions someday.
“It’s just so neat to help and coach other arm wrestlers because there’s a lot of talent in our communities.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald