Eight-year-old Félix Gauthier finished 1st in left-handed shooting and 2nd in right-handed shooting. Myka Villeneuve, 12, placed second with a left-handed shot. Léandre Perron, age 15, first from left and Christopher Launière, age 15, 2nd from left and 3rd from right. Of the four, only Christopher and Félix have already participated in the competition, emphasizes their mentor Dave Gauthier.
“All four returned with trophies. They were proud, those young people.”
Mr. Gauthier was also somewhat surprised to see the next generation do so well despite their lack of experience.
“Felix, my little man, practice with me. Christopher comes from Mashteuiatsh and comes to do a few exercises with us. My cousin’s daughter Myka just started working with us last Monday. She saw the technique and wanted to try it. It went well. As for Léandre, he has been practicing at school and watching videos for two or three years. (…) He came to practice on Monday because he wanted me to evaluate him,” says Dolmissois, brother of Winnipeg Blue Bombers player Shayne Gauthier.
This year in Ottawa, the last meeting of the season, there were at least 50 to 60 participants. Young people are divided by weight categories between under 12 years and 12-17 years. So even though Christopher and Léandre are 15 years old, they don’t clash. Christopher competes in the 180-pound category and Léandre in the 160-pound category.
A sport that needs to be developed
Dave Gauthier would like to see a youth track in the region, but would not want to take full responsibility for it as it can be very demanding. On the other hand, he would like the activity to be at least offered in schools. Often this discipline is a victim of prejudice and is seen as a bit folklore.
“It seems this sport is still seen as a bar sport in the old days. We have to try to change people’s mentality about it. I’m sure there are plenty of young people who are interested. If we see that there is enthusiasm, we will organize”, he assures.
“You can do it on the shooting table in schools. If you do it on the corner of the school desk, you risk injury there. There are tables for young people and I don’t see why schools wouldn’t want to set them up. It brings in the testosterone, takes away the restlessness and keeps you busy,” says Dave Gauthier.
President of the Association Bras de Fer du Québec (ABFQ) and director of the Canadian Arm Wrestling Federation (CAWF), Marc-André Campeau, would even be open to the idea of a school tour to promote the sport.
But before taking any steps, Dave Gauthier would like to see some openness in the community. “I think it is possible if it is shown that young people can do it. Nobody came back (from the competition) with a broken arm. And Léandre told me that it was the best day of his life. I’m trying to slowly develop this sport.”
Sports are booming in the region. There are two shooting clubs in the region, one in Lac-Saint-Jean and one in Saguenay. There are more and more followers, but they are almost exclusively adults. In Dolmissois, they are convinced that there will be interest and talent for this sports discipline among young people.
“It doesn’t take much to practice. I personally have a table that I bought, but 80 young people do not have a table. They watch videos on YouTube. These are trainings.homemade“, with judo belts”, explains the man who trains on average seven hours a week.
In some regions, wrist shooting has been practiced for decades and the knowledge is passed down. This discipline is still new here in the region. “If you go to places like Gatineau, they have veterans who have been doing this for 25-30 years. You see that young people are much more technical than ours, but it doesn’t matter, ours earn the same. We, here, they are strong,” says Dave Gauthier, laughing.
Next year, the provincial championship will be held on April 27 and 28 at the Saint-Jean Golf Club in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and Quebec will next host the Canadian championship from June 28 to 30 in Gatineau. . If the wish of Dolmissois comes true, perhaps the young generation from Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean will be among those ranks.