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Bellerose’s Vale takes ‘King of Arms’ crown

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In a gripping display of raw power, Bellerose arm wrestler Jason Vale, a two-time national champion, swept to victory in the 175-pound Middleweight class and then went on to oust last year’s “NYC King of Arms,” Jerry Cadorette, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound titan, in a double-elimination final. The win gave Vale the MVP title in the all-pro Intrepid “NYC Big Apple Grapple XXV.”

Before a packed crowd rooting for their favorites aboard the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, pros from many states and countries battled New York’s own impressive home-grown talent in an atmosphere tinged with emotion, because the venue for the same event last March was the “Top of the World’ Observatory at the World Trade Center.

A portion of the event’s entry fees will be donated to the Twin Towers Fund, the New York Arm Wresting Association (NYAWA) announced. This marks the event’s 25th anniversary in the Big Apple.

A team championship title was awarded to the pros representing the NYC borough of Queens helped by Vale and Mike Selearis, from Elmhurst, and several other second and third place Queens winners in the 11 weight classes.

Selearis took the 200-pound Heavyweight class title in a hard-fought battle against Ray Darling,. Edwin Safarian, of Bayside, won third place in a close contest.

Darling, from Cropseyville, N.Y., not only swept the Master Open Weight competition, for those ages 45 and over), but also was crowned today as the NYC Pro Arm Wrestler of the Year, an honor granted to an all-around great competitor, who proved his mettle year-round.

Marty Soven, from Woodside, was second and West Islip’s Frank Malis was third in the Master Open Weight competition.

In the team competition, Turkey, with three top competitors, took second place and the New York State team (areas outside NYC and Long Island) was third, after tallying all winning points won in the 11 weight-class categories.

In the 150-pound Lightweight class, a super star from Turkey, Gukhan Calisirisci, defeated Patrick Baffa, of Bayside, an 11-time borough title-holder, who placed second.

Fabian Cortez, of Jamaica, took third place in the 132-pound Featherweight class.

In the women’s 120-pound Lightweight class, Tina Gaita of Jackson Heights, took first place, with Roxy Toporwych, of Brooklyn, in second and Mijung Choi, of Woodside, third.

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