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Mon 10 Sep 2018 11:54 AM

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In pictures: Lebanese arm wrestlers revive century-old tradition

As far back as the 19th century, men in villages across the country would show off their strength, locking hands over a table -- or even just lifting rocks. The old sport has drawn in new fans in Lebanon. Dozens gathered in Jounieh to watch men and women grapple for gold.

In pictures: Lebanese arm wrestlers revive century-old tradition
On a seaside podium in Lebanon, Halim el-Achkar locks hands with an opponent, exerting pressure until he slams both contestants' forearms down with a fearsome growl, to win the bout. His rippling biceps etched with tattoos, the 25-year-old is thrilled that the country's century-old pastime of arm wrestling has been given a new lease of life.
In pictures: Lebanese arm wrestlers revive century-old tradition
A single fight can last a few seconds or several gut-wrenching minutes, with at least two referees hunched over the table to spot fouls.
In pictures: Lebanese arm wrestlers revive century-old tradition
The tournament in Jounieh, a Lebanese town just north of the capital Beirut, is the second annual nationwide contest organised by the country's arm wrestling federation
In pictures: Lebanese arm wrestlers revive century-old tradition
Established last year, the body already boasts 750 members whom it trains to perform at international standards, founder Karim el-Andary said.
In pictures: Lebanese arm wrestlers revive century-old tradition
A competition was also held for male and female members of the army and security forces.
In pictures: Lebanese arm wrestlers revive century-old tradition
Men compete in an arm wrestling championship in Lebanon's coastal city of Jounieh.
In pictures: Lebanese arm wrestlers revive century-old tradition
Watched closely by judges, Lebanese men compete in an arm-wrestling championship in the coastal city of Jounieh