Arm wrestler Anthony Dall'Antonia is putting his best arm forward this summer.
Dall'Antonia will be both front-and-centre and behind the scenes at this year's Canadian national championships in Richmond on the Canada Day long weekend.
The 11-time national two-arm champion will have a dual role at the nationals besides defending his right-and left-arm titles. Dall'Antonia will be helping to organize the nationals for the first time.
"I think the big part is the competitive part. It was my strength being a competitor. But (organizing) is more of a challenge," said the 30-year-old Dall'Antonia. "But eventually maybe the elbows will begin to feel it down the road. I love the sport, and I want to give back to the sport and to do everything I can to grow the sport."
To that end, Dall'Antonia has taken on the roles as the Canadian federation director of communication and the provincial association's media director. He is also getting into refereeing and coaching in a bigger way.
Dall'Antonia runs the Vancouver Arm Wrestling Club out of a Burnaby garage near Kensington Avenue and Broadway.
Last year, the club expanded to three satellite clubs with one in downtown Vancouver, serving the westside, and another existing club also taking on the club's logo and brand in Campbell River.
Besides sharing website information, the club also intends to work closely with the other groups, sending wrestlers to the other sites to hold seminars and share experiences.
"We're trying to help them by putting back into our sport and teaching them," said Dall'Antonia. "We're just hoping they can piggy-back off of us."
The nationals have been held in B.C. three times before but always in Kelowna. When the west earned the bid this year, Dall'Antonia decided to take the bull by the horns.
He chose the River Rock Casino complex as the venue because of its close proximity to the airport. The championships will be held from June 29 to July 2, with the competition taking place on the Saturday and Sunday.
Leading up to the nationals, the club will showcase the sport of arm wrestling at The Vancouver Men's Show at the Tradex Centre in Abbotsford from June 15 to 17.
An armwrestling challenge for first-timers-only will be held on the Sunday as the club's way of helping popularize the sport and dispell any misconceptions of the wrestlers to a new segment of the Lower Mainland.
"There has always been the stereotype of the bikerbelly guy in the bar," said Dall'Antonia. "But there is a lot of athleticism - speed, strength and technique. It's an explosive sport and quick."
Dall'Antonia is the current titleholder at 80 kilograms for both right and left arms.
His biggest challenge comes from George Iszakouits of Ontario, an older competitor who has a physical condition that locks his elbow making him next to impossible to beat.
Dall-Antonia is the only man to have bettered Iszakouits at the nationals.
The matches between the two men can last up to 15 minutes, which is in direct contrast to most of Dall'Antonia's right-handed bouts that are over in a blink of an eye.
The defending seventime national champion is even more dominant with his left arm and is unbeaten since 2004, having won at three separate weight classes, including 85 and 90 kg.
For more info, check out www.vancouverarm wrestling.com.