Corby arm-wrestler going from strength to strength

Gustave Smalley is entering his first arm-wrestling competition.
Gustave Smalley is entering his first arm-wrestling competition.

A young Corby arm-wrestler is hoping to get a grip of his first title when he makes his competition debut.

Gustave Smalley, 13, has been training for three years in preparation for his maiden event in the sport near Manchester on September 7.

Gustave training with his dad Nick.

Gustave training with his dad Nick.

The Corby Technical School student was taught the skills by his dad Nick, 38, a professional arm-wrestler who has competed in the World Arm-Wrestling League.

Nick said: "It's all about technique. Gustave has had a lot of table time and over that time he has really developed his style.

"He's very strong and has given me a good battle quite a few times."

The event sees people travel from across Europe to compete and Gustave, who is also a keen footballer, is entering the junior section for under-16s.

Gustave attends Corby Technical School.

Gustave attends Corby Technical School.

The competition is best-of-five pins with each hand, first with the left and then with the right.

Gustave, who trains at Slough Slammers in Berkshire, has different techniques to pin different styles to the table.

Techniques include the 'hook' style, where the bicep is used to drag the opponent's arm down, and the 'outside' technique, where the opponent's arm is swung out using the wrist.

Battles can go on for longer than a minute and some UK competitions have prize pots of up to £10,000.

Gustave training with Slough coach Tom Holland.

Gustave training with Slough coach Tom Holland.

Further afield championships in America have had prize pots of more than $100,000.

The world rankings are dominated by arm-wrestlers from eastern Europe and north America.

Georgia's Levan Saginashvili is the current world number one in both the left-handed and right-handed rankings - but could Gustave put Corby on the world stage?

Nick, who works as a pharmacist, said: "He wants to emulate me but I can see him going much further.

"He's only 13 but he's got the skills and the strength to go all the way."