Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – The 2023 World Combat Games in Riyadh has been showcasing innovative para and special disciplines across its 16 featured martial arts. This global platform has provided athletes of varying abilities the opportunity to exhibit their talents and capabilities on an international scale.Inspired by the Paralympics and Special Olympics, athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities have been given an equal stage to shine.
Six of the martial arts have taken an active inclusive approach to the games and the debut of Armwrestling in the World Combat Games is one such sport. Armwrestling is a discipline that requires a blend of strength and strategy, with athletes showcasing their gripping, leveraging, and endurance skills, employing diverse techniques to gain an advantage.
In Para-armwrestling, the competition is classified through the World Arm-wrestling Federation’s (WAF) Classification Code, made in collaboration with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). This system ensures fair competition by assessing an athlete’s impairment’s significance in relation to their performance. Its primary objective is to reduce the influence of impairments, thereby highlighting the importance of an athlete’s skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability, and mental focus in determining their success. Additionally, Classification serves to determine an athlete’s eligibility for participation in Paralympic sports and categorizes eligible athletes into specific sport classes based on their respective activity limitations.
Audience at the World Combat Games 2023 witnessed various male and female weight divisions and Para categories, including gripping Para Standing and Para Sitting events. Notably, Ukraine’s Alona Hornich and Olesia Bessalnova claimed gold in the Women’s Left Arm Para Standing and Para Visual categories, respectively. Hungary’s Daniel Simon triumphed in the Men’s Left-Arm Para Standing division, while Turkey’s Gokhan Seven, a remarkable multi-sport Paralympian, secured gold in the men’s Left-Arm Para Sitting category, showcasing his prowess in sports like Skiing and Powerlifting.
UTS President Stephan Fox emphasised the impact of inclusivity on the athletes and the international sports community.
“Armwrestling is a sport that can be adjusted based on the abilities of the athletes, leveling the playing field. Athletes of all abilities have demonstrated such an immense power of will and strength during this competition, we have all been immensely inspired. These games serve as inspiration to continue to increase the inclusivity of all abilities across sporting events going forward.”
A huge congratulations to all the athletes, officials, technical delegates and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to ensure a warm welcome and top level competition for all athletes.
To learn more about Armwrestling and the World Armwrestling Federation (WAF), visit