IFSA 105-kg Worlds: Building a Tradition

When the IFSA 105-kg world championships are held in Panyu City, China later this month, it's not just a continuation of Ilkka Kinnunen's advocacy for this bodyweight class in strongman - it's also a reflection of his longstanding efforts to develop the sport in China.

For Ilkka Kinnunen, the idea of holding a strongman contest in China began in 1998, when he started discussing the possibility. Working with his partner, IFSA Asia President Jari Veps-l-inen, Kinnunen has gone on to hold a major event in China every year since 1999, when he brought in the world's top strongmen for the world team championships: Jouko Ahola, Janne Virtanen, Gerrit Badenhorst, Berend Veneberg, Wout Zijlstra, and Magnus and Tjorbjorn Samuelsson were among those there, and that event was also the first international competition for two Polish strongmen you might have heard of, Mariusz Pudzianowski and Jarek Dymek.

"It was a big success," Kinnunen said. "They loved it, and we have been back every year since then."

This is the second year for IFSA's 105-kg worlds, which is something that Kinnunen sees as a way to open the sport to more competitors. "I am getting interest from many countries," Kinnunen said, explaining that a lot of nations simply do not have many guys of the size seen in the open class in strongman. The 105-kg class provides a way for more people to get involved in strongman, said Kinnunen, and the top competitors in this class, even though so much lighter, still manage to do well in open-class competitions.

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