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Local wins coveted arm wrestling honour

by Chris Daponte

MOOREFIELD - The medical experts who told Tyler Robinson’s parents their son would never walk may be feeling a bit silly right about now.

The 21-year-old, who was born with cerebral palsy, has overcome countless obstacles and just last weekend he was named the 2011 Rookie of the Year by the Ontario Armwrestling Association (OAA).

Robinson has had a passion for arm wrestling since public school, but the Moorefield resident never really had a chance to truly explore the sport until about a year ago.

“I always liked arm wrestling - since I was a kid,” Robinson told the Wellington Advertiser.

His father, Les Robinson, said Tyler’s affinity for the sport seemed to start after he first watched Over the Top, the 1987 film starring Sylvester Stallone.

Under the guidance of Jay and Janet Reihle and Jeff Oosterveld, who started taking him to practices with the Teeswater Thunder Team, Tyler fared well at several local tournaments, before joining the Harriston Havoc team in October.

Les noted Harriston Havoc team members have welcomed his son with open arms and have helped his training immensely. Tyler has greatly improved his balance and strength and he continues to work out at home.

“I train hard every day to get ready,” Tyler said.

And it appears all the hard work is certainly paying off.

He is the southern Ontario champion in his left arm and he won third for his right arm (in the 177 to 198 pounds category).

Robinson is also western Ontario champion for his left arm and second for his right arm.

On July 16 Robinson travelled to Belleville for the OAA Provincial Tournament, where he was named the 2011 Ontario Rookie of the Year.

“I was so excited I forgot to videotape it ... we were pretty happy for him, that’s for sure,” Les said. “My wife Deb and I are so amazed and proud of him.”

Tyler said no one was more shocked than him when his named was called out.

“I was pretty surprised,” he said. “I didn’t think I would get it.”

But Les says his son is “a crowd favourite” at tournaments and extremely popular among his arm wrestling peers.

Comments posted on the OAA message board seem to support that sentiment.

Renowned arm wrestling champion Chris Gobby recently contributed this post, “I personally have never been more proud and honoured in awe as when I’ve shaken this man’s hand. Tyler is my ambassador of this sport ... and my rookie of the year.”

But despite his successes to date, Tyler certainly has not become complacent. His goal is to ultimately become “a real champ” and he believes - as do others - that with continued hard work and perseverance, it may just be a matter of time until he gets there.

“I love it,” Tyler said of the sport of arm wrestling. “I’m never going to give it up.”

For more information visit



July 29, 2011


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