Saffuri off to arm wrestling champs
HERVEY Bay's Sam Saffuri will be alone when he marches on to the world stage this week to represent Australia for the third time in the 2011 World Arm Wrestling Championships in Kazakhstan.
The Australian champion is aiming to be number one across four days of competitions, but not before a weigh-in, sign on and an Olympic-like ceremony that has every country march beneath their flag in to the stadium.
Mr Saffuri is once again the only Australian competitor in the championships and will be competing against countries such as the United States, which frequently has more than 50 competitors.
It may be the last year that he competes as he debates whether to go to next year's championships but he will be comforted by the fact that this year is the last time Australia will have only one competitor.
At least five men have signed up to compete in the 2012 competition being held in Brazil after Mr Saffuri said many Australian competitors felt like they could not compete at an international level.
Mr Saffuri, who runs an eco-friendly developing company Monopoly Designs, flew into Sydney on Saturday as a guest at the New South Wales Arm Wrestling Championships before flying out to Kazakhstan on that same night.
He weighs in at 80kg but frequently beats men who weigh up to 140kg.
Mr Saffuri took out both his own weight category and the overall award at the Australian Arm Wrestling Championships earlier this year.
He hopes to increase his ranking from number eight on his left arm and number 10 in the world on his right arm this week but said the outcome was unpredictable.
"There are always surprises," he said.
The championships start today in Almaty and continue until December 4.