Not many would know that Rahul Panicker is one of the established figures in arm wrestling and is the current Indian National Arm Wrestling champion. This software engineer belongs to a family that has always been passionate about fitness.
Panicker shares on Indiatimes.com, “In my family, my father and his four elder brothers are all into fitness.” His father had won the title of ‘Powerman of India’, while one uncle was a former weightlifting champion, and another one was secretary of Kerala State Body Building Association.
With this background, it was not surprising to find Panicker too becoming interested in physical sports. However, by his own admission, he was initially too lazy to work out, even when his father installed a home gym. But his father persisted and he slowly started liking it. He chose arm wrestling as he was fascinated by it and soon showed his mettle on the national arm wrestling scene by winning six national medals in the last decade.
The exploits of this 31-year-old, who belongs to Kochi, India, would have remained confined to the Indian arm wrestling fraternity but for his face-off with Larry Wheels, one of the renowned bodybuilders, who is known across the world due to his vast social media reach.
Had it been a regular wrestling match, it would not have seen the light of the day. This is because Wheels weighed around 110 to 115 kilograms, while Panicker was a mere 70 kilograms. In addition, Wheels was over six feet tall, had powerlifting around 367 kilograms in squat, 276 kilograms doing bench press, and established a record of a 387-kilogram in the deadlift. In comparison, Panicker looked puny in front of the muscular American. But in arm wrestling, it is the strength in the arm that counts.
This best-of-five arm wrestling match was held in Dubai. Once the game started, Wheels easily won the first two rounds and the match seemed a walkover for him. But the gritty Panicker came from behind and stunned Wheels by winning the next three rounds in an exemplary fashion. Wheels gracefully acknowledged his defeat. This historic match was shared by the Indian Arm Wrestling Federation on their Facebook page.
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