Skandenberg has always been one of the purest sports out there. It is the ultimate test of strength between people. When you are at the arm wrestling table facing your opponent, the only one that can get you out of there is you and only you. It’s a sport of durability, technique, and power, but it always lacked in popularity in Romania.

Photo from official Facebook of Braţ de Fier

An aspiring  arm-wrestler, Sabou Marian, says that “When I was a little kid, maybe 7 or 8, I knew I wanted to be a great arm wrestler someday. By the time I was 16, I heard about Ion Oncescu and his amazing records of pulling 100, 300, 1000 people at a table in one day and I wanted to do the same in my lifetime!”

“However, I never really knew where to participate and where I could compete. Because of the Nationals of this year, I now know where to go and what I have to do in order to make my dream come true.”

Courtesy of Marian Sabou

This year the national championships will be held in June and we can expect many of the strongest people in the country to gather and compete for the number one spot for each weight class.

The National Skandenberg-Armwrestling and Para-Skandenberg-Armwrestling Championships 2021, Rădăuți, Suceava County, is organized by the Romanian Skandenberg Iron Arm Association together with the Bucovina Skandenberg Sports Club Association.

“I will go there and hopefully win! When I was in high school, at 16-18, I was the strongest in the whole school. No one could compete with me and I had to arm wrestle my 200 pounds dad to have a real challenge. So I believe I have a real shot at winning,” said Marian Sabou.


In Romania, the sport’s evolution was slow. Compared to countries such as Bulgaria, Great Britain or even Russia, where they had competitions, prizes and recognition starting from the 1950s, Romania only started recognizing arm-wrestling as a sport in 2016.

“I believe that because the sport is so young, there is great potential and amazing talent that is left to be discovered. I also believed that even if it won’t happen overnight, but in the near future, Romania will have champions that will be able compete at the international level, just like Oncescu did,” said Marian Sabou.


The double elimination system means that even if you lose a match, you still have another chance at winning the whole thing. Every competitor has one life point.

Marian Sabou thinks “this is a great idea of matchmaking, as it offers the competitors a second chance and a way of realizing their mistakes and still be able to analyse them during the competition, not just at home, after the whole thing is over.”

Photo from official Facebook of Braț de Fier
Courtesy of Marian Sabou


Marian says that “As we know, the sport in Romania is young, therefore we know we can expect people to get into it more and more, just like I did. There are many fans of the sport in the country and you can see there is interest.”

The championships will be organized in Unirii Square in Rădăuți, on a covered stage. Audience seats will be set up in front of the stage. The mayor’s office, together with the organizers, will ensure that all safety rules are complied with, providing support to the authorities.

“This is a great opportunity for the organizers to broadcast the event and get people to watch it from their own homes. I believe this would help with the future competitions in the country,” said Marian Sabou.

One of the most notable names that is believed to participate in the upcoming championship is Andrei Chipreanov. He is a performance athlete, and has been practicing skandenberg for over a decade. His record includes the titles of world vice-champion, European champion and multiple national champion at skandenberg. He is also from Rădăuți, which makes it even more likely that he will compete at the 100+KG category.

Photo from

The competition is sure to be a great one, full of amazing battles and fantastic entertainment. These competitions help grow the sport in the country and benefit not only the participants and the fans, but also Romanian sports as a whole.

“I really cannot wait to go there and compete. It was my dream for many years, and now there is an actual place where I can go and give it all for the sport, for my friends, and for the glory,” says Sabou Marian.


The competitors must be Romanian citizens and in order to participate they must present an identification card.

Competitors must also be registered at an official armwrestling club. If they are not, then they can register to the Braț de Fier Association Club or to any FRSKA affiliated club.

Romanian citizens who have represented another country in the last two years or want to represent another country at this year’s European or World Championships cannot enter the competition.

Article photo: cottonbro on Pexels


“Andrei Chipreanov – Campion National la skandenberg.” 21 Apr. 2018, Accessed 2 Apr. 2021.

“Braț de fier.” 21 Apr. 2021, Accessed 3 Apr. 2021.

Robert Wood, “Arm Wrestling the Sport.” Topend Sports Website, Dec 2014,, Accessed 21/04/2021

“Înființarea Federației române de skandenberg.” www.braț Accessed 5 Apr. 2021.

Petru Cristian Negrea

Petru Cristian Negrea