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State arm wrestling championship to host division for people with Down syndrome

Posted at 6:19 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 19:19:28-04

GLENDALE — Noah Waldkirch isn't your average 16-year-old. He has three state championship medals in arm wrestling. He plans to defend his titles on Saturday at the Wisconsin State Arm Wrestling Championships in Glendale at the Bavarian Bierhaus.

“I have big muscles, and I can win every time," Waldkirch, who has Down syndrome, said.

In an effort to promote inclusivity, the tournament is hosting a division for people with Down syndrome for the second time ever. The tournament partnered with GiGi's Playhouse, a Down syndrome achievement center.

Noah Waldkirch
Noah Waldkirch arm wrestles against his older brother Justin Whiteside.

"Just shows they can do anything they really put their minds to," Susan Waldkirch, Noah's mom, said.

For Noah, this is especially exciting. He has been arm wrestling with his older brother and grandpa ever since he was a small child. Arm wrestling isn't offered in any Special Olympic events, so this is how Noah can compete in one of his favorite activities.

"This is going to help me win," Noah said while slapping his flexed bicep multiple times.

The tournament is open to the public and all people of varying abilities. To find out more information about registration and times, you can click on this link. There is a small fee, but a portion of the proceeds to go GiGi's Playhouse, which offers free services for people with different abilities of all ages. Those with different abilities can enter free.

Last year, around 100 people entered the tournament including around a dozen people with Down syndrome. They expect similar if not larger numbers since the 2020 version was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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