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Blackburn arm-wrestler picks up 30th British title
NEIL Pickup showed that he still has pulling power after winning an incredible 30th British arm wrestling title.
The former two-time world champion put his injury worries behind him to win the light heavyweight crown – and he did so in front of his watching children.
After winning the overall title as well at the Crofts Hotel in Preston, Pickup revealed there was no way he was going to lose with his two young sons in the crowd.
And the 38-year-old, who has now won titles at six different weight categories, dedicated his most recent success to Dempsey, aged three, and six-month-old Rylan.
“There was no way I was going to lose in front of the boys,” said Pickup who has also won the European title three times. “Someone mentioned that I looked more focused than I normally am and that is probably true.
“Dempsey has seen me before but this is the first time Rylan was there too. It was a special moment for me.”
The Blackburn puller won his first British title back in 1992 and was delighted to get his hands back on the ‘blue ribband’ right arm title.
“I won on my left last year but missed out on the right due to injury,” said Pickup who works for a Manchester-based win merchant. “But the right is the one you really want. That is the blue ribband event - I just leant it out on loan last year.”
Pickup’s wife Alison is also a former British arm wrestling champion while his dad Dave has supported him ever since he got in to the sport as 13-year-old.
“My dad really supported me as a teenager, taking me all over the country for events, just limitless support,” said Pickup. “That is something that I’d like to be able to afford Dempsey and Rylan in whatever sport they choose to follow.”
Pickup, world champion in 2000 and 2001, no longer the dominant force he once was before having to have his elbow rebuilt in 2007. But he has shown that on his day, he can still compete with the best. And he proved that by winning his class in the Arm Wars Super Series events in both Germany and the XL Arena in London.
The Super Series, which has 12 rounds across the world, is screened in 70 countries to audiences of millions.
And when Pickup isn’t competing, he is compering or commentating making him one of the household names of the sports.
“It’s funny but when I am in America or Russia at these events, I get swamped. The Super Series is getting more and more popular. I love the TV side of it but there is nothing like competing.”
And Pickup admits it is the ‘spit and sawdust’ of the British championships that really gets the adrenaline pumping.
“The sport is getting a higher profile all the time with Sky Sport and ESPN showing events around the world. But for me you can’t beat the spit and sawdust of the British Championships.
“It is where I started, where I made my name and it still gives me as much pleasure competing in these smaller venues as it does going up against the best in the world.”