MetroSports Magazine July-August 2021

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MetroSports Magazine FIA Formula E NYC e Prix on the Brooklyn Waterfront

New York Boulders Baseball

July- August 2021

New York’s Golden Gloves National Champions

New York’s Strongest Man and Woman 8


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July-August 2021

4 2021 New York City ePrix Sam Bird wins again, becomming the first series driver to claim three wins on the same track. 10 New York Boulders Baseball Rockland County’s minor league team provides fun for fans and an opportunity for players to advance to the major league. 16 New York Women Crowned National Golden Gloves Boxing Champions NY’s USA Boxing Metro claims 5 medals in Tulsa Oklahoma. Two local women win gold and crowned National Champions 18 New York Strongman & Woman Tournament in Mamaroneck USA Boxing Metro hosts its first post-Covid event on the Mamaroneck waterfront.

Cover Photo by Warren Rosenberg, MetroSports Magazine | 1

Train Like a Champion. Train with a Champion. MetroSports Magazine’s former Athlete of the Month and cover of our May-June 2015 issue, Keisher “Fire” McLeod, a former NY Golden Gloves Champion, current NYS Flyweight Champion and current WIBA World Flyweight Champion can now be your personal boxing trainer at the world famous Gleason’s Gym.

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MetroSports Magazine (MSM) is published six times a year by the New York Sports Photo Group. MSM is available online and can be downloaded in electronic format for viewing on tablet and hand-held devices, laptop and desktop computers and purchased as full-color glossy print editions. Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Art Director: Warren Rosenberg Publisher: New York Sports Photo Group: Editorial Director / Sales: John Chuhran Writers: John Chuhran, Warren Rosenberg Director of Photography: Clark Thompson Social Media: Clark Thompson, Warren Rosenberg Photo Contributors: -Clark Thompson, -Warren Rosenberg -Drew Wohl Advertising: For rate card contact Please direct all inquiries to: Visit us on the web at:

MetroSports Magazine accepts and welcomes photos, short articles, opinions and letters from our readers. There is no guarantee that unsolicited contributions will be published and MetroSports Magazine assumes no responsibility for failure to publish or for editing published contributions. The Contents of MetroSports Magazine consist of copyrightable and/or copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced without the express written consent of the publishers. MetroSports Magazine | 3

2021 New York City ePrix Sam Bird Soars Once More by Warren Rosenberg It was on the weekend of July 15th and 16th, four years ago, that Sir Richard Branson, teamed with Formula E race car driver Sam Bird, captured back-to-back wins for the Virgin Atlantic Formula E racing team in the inaugural New York City ePrix race. It was a first for team owner Sir Richard Branson who was on hand for the race weekend. The first Formula E race in New York City. The first international professional automobile race on the streets of New York City in more than a century. That weekend, Sir Richard and Sam celebrated together on the podium, twice, winning both the Saturday and Sunday races and writing their names in New York City racing history.


his year, on Sunday, July 11th, 2021, on that same race course on the streets of Red Hook Brooklyn as part of the two-day weekend event, Sam Bird again claimed victory in the New York City ePrix, only this time, without Sir Richard Branson on hand. For the 2021 Formula E season, driver Sam Bird has switched to the Jaguar Racing team and Sir Richard has switched to the Virgin Galactic space flight team. On this Sunday, when Sam Bird claimed victory on the New York City ePrix track in

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Red Hook Brooklyn driving the Jaguar I –Type 5 all electric race car, Sir Richard rocketed off into space in the hybrid-fueled Virgin Galactic VSS Unity space plane and, he too, claimed success. For Sir Richard, the experience was “indescribably beautiful”. With his NYC win this July, Sam Bird became the first Formula E driver to win three times on the same racecourse. With his ride today, Sir Richard became the first commercial space flight owner to launch himself into space.

Above: Virgin Galactic VSS Unity. Photo credit - Jeff Foust . Creative Commons Attribution 2 License via Wikimedia Below: Virgin DS Automobiles FIA Formula E Race Car in the 2018 New York City ePrix. Photo credit - Warren Rosenberg

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Above: Start of the New York City eePrix, 2021. Photo courtesy of FIA Formula E

The Envision Virgin Racing car driven by Nick Cassidy finished second in today’s race which was good enough to keep the Envision Virgin Racing team in first place in the 2020-2021 season’s Championship standings. Overall, a good day for both. Last year’s NYC ePrix was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic and was run, alternatively, as a virtual event. For coverage see the July-August 2020 issue of MetroSports Magazine. With the pandemic not yet passed, and with many international members of the race teams, sponsors and media gathering in Red Hook Brooklyn for the 2021 race weekend, strict Covid protocols were in place. The event was held in what the organizers referred to as the Formula E Bubble, in place 6 | July August 2021

at the race venue from July 2 through July 12 and involved regular Covid PCR Testing or proof of vaccination, FFP2 or KN95 masks to be worn at all times, Further, entry into the bubble required that only personal transportation be used to travel to the race track and that all public transportation was to be avoided. There were guidelines in place for those staying at area hotels and when dining in public restaurants. Unlike prior years where the media worked and dined in the shared media center, eating was not permitted in the media center workroom and each individual was assigned a personal 4 square meter workspace. A dedicated “hygiene patroller” was stationed in the media center to enforce the bubble protocol. Out on the track, photographers had to

be masked at all times and remain six feet apart severely restricting access to the shooting holes. Because of these restrictions, a Virtual Media Center was created allowing remote access to follow the race and interact with participants. Among the information communicated to media and other attendees were the following, excerpted from the NYC Rules and Instructions guidelines. “Formula E is aware of its responsibility towards its staff, suppliers, teams and other stakeholders and have therefore developed measures from a hygiene and medical standpoint to permit the staging of the seventh season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in light of the COVID-10 pandemic. The Protocoal includes one restrictive bubble, referred to as the Formula E Bubble along with a rigorous PCR Testing regime. Formula E Smart Accreditation will be the only form of accreditation valid to access the Formula E Bubble. Only a list of pre-approved people are permitted to go through this accreditation process. All Accreditation Groups are required to organize their own transportation when traveling to and from the event site. The use of public transportation is not permitted. Private vehicles should be used whenever possible. In exceptional circumstances the use of taxis, Uber and other private car services is permitted in accordance with the following: no passenger is to sit next to the driver, FFP2/KN95 masks to be worn at all times. Local attendees will receive an appointment for

Above (from top): Pre-Covid Media Center; 2021 Covid protocol Virtual Media Center; Pre-Covid Media Center - MSM’s John Chuhran interviews Shea Holbrook; and in 2021 following Covid protocol.

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their 1st Formula E PCR test via email 24 hours prior to the event, arrive at least 10 minutes before appointment of your 1st FR PCR Test. Formula E is discouraging the use of indoor facilities. No meetings are allowed indoors. Outdoor meetings are allowed for a maximum of 6 people. But, in spite of the challenges of running the world’s premier all-electric formula race series on the streets of New York City during a world-wide pandemic, the New York City race weekend and the entire interantional series took place without incident. Upon winning Sunday’s NYC ePrix, round 11 of the 15 race series, Sam Bird became the first driver in the history of the Formula E racing series to claim three wins on the same track. After the win, Sam commented “You’re never giving up, always pushing with the team, always believing in yourself, believing in the equipment underneath here, and just executing the plan. And we did that. Just absolutely

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perfect today. So proud of everybody.” Although the series featured no women driving, Formula E and the FIA announced earlier in this season, a six year extension to their collaboration of the FIA Girls on Track program, with ABB, Formula E’s title partner, joining the initiative as its first global partner. FIA Girls on Track was launched by the FIA Women in Motorsport commission in 2018 to raise awareness and increase the number of women in motorsport by unlocking opportunities and giving many their first experience in the industry. Michelle Mouton, President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission noted that “our FIA Girls on Track events have already opened thousands of young eyes to the many and varied career opportunities in motor sport, and to further develop this programme with Formula E and ABB as a global

partner is another great step towards driving diversity and inclusion. If we are to increase female participation it is so important to enthuse and inspire at a young age. This extended partnership between the FIA, the Women in Motorsport Commission and Formula E can only help increase awareness that the sport provides equal opportunities to everyone, and the enjoyable but educational Girls on Track activities will hopefully encourage young girls to choose third level studies oriented towards our industry.”

Above: Photo courtesy FIA Formula E

Below: The NYC ePrix weekend was all good for Sam Bird who crashed into the wall during Saturday’s race prior to his win on Sunday. Photo courtesy FIA Formula E

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New York Boulders Baseball Minor League Professional Baseball Providing Fun For Fans and a Road to the Majors for Athletes by Warren Rosenberg


hile the New York Metropolitan area may seem best known for its professional sports teams and iconic stadiums, there are a number of minor league professional sports teams providing competitive sports in fan-friendly, easy-toreach, and more affordable venues. Sure, we’ve got the New York Yankees and the New York City Football Club soccer team in Yankee Stadium, New York Giants and Jets in MetLife Stadium, the New York Mets playing at Citi Field, the New York Rangers and New York Knicks inside Madison Square Garden, the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena, the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty at Barclays Center. While you’ll catch some great action at these sites, you’ll need to be prepared for high ticket prices, expensive parking fees, and the occasional rowdy crowd. For those looking for a more family-friendly environment in which to watch competitive professional-level sports in an easy to reach venue, the New York Boulders minor league professional baseball team should be high the list. And, when we say family-friendly, we mean everyone

Photography by Drew Wohl and Warren Rosenberg

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Above: Photo Credit - Warren Rosenberg,

including the family dog, all welcome and catered to at the Boulders’ home field of Palisades Credit Union Park. Children can enjoy a wellequipped playground, take a train ride around the outfield, and run the bases after a Sunday game. Grown-ups can visit the Bridge Bar just behind left field. And the family canines always enjoy watching the antics of PepperJack the Bat Dog.

Above: PepperJack, the N.Y. Boulders “Bat Dog” at work retrieving a bat during a game. Photo Credit - Warren Rosenberg,

Originally formed in 2011 as the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League, the team got off to a great start winning their first game against the Newark Bears and signing former New York Mets player, Howard Johnson, to join the Boulders and play alongside his son Glen, the team’s second baseman in that inaugural season. That first team featured local players from the Bronx (Jon Velasquez), Long Island (Glen Johnson), Mount Kisco (John Muller), Nyack (Justin Ottman), River Edge NJ (Brett Carroll), Suffern (Ryan Mollica) and Yonkers (John Fitzpatrick, Norm Hutchins). In 2013 the Boulders’ Charlie Law pitched the team’s first complete game no-hitter and, on Saturday, June 15, 2021, another former New York Met, Mike Piazza, was offered a one-day contract to play catcher for the Boulders as part of a special fund raiser for the “Mike Piazza/Make-A-Wish Foundation”. In 2014 the Boulders won their first League Championship. For talented ball players coming up through the little leagues, high schools and college baseball programs, minor league teams such as the Boulders provide an opportunity to continue playing the game they love and being seen by major league teams. While no team in the Frontier League MetroSports Magazine | 11

is an affiliate of any Major League Baseball (MLB) team, the league is a partner with MLB and has the benefit of using MLB’s analytics department which increases the chance of Frontier League players drawing the attention of a major league team. This season, two of the New York Boulders players, short stop Austin Dennis and pitcher Brian Rapp had their contracts purchased by major league teams, the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively. Among the today’s active roster of the New York Boulders are three local products of the New York Metro region looking for their shot at the major league, Luke Burton, from the borough of Queens in New York City, Phil Capra, from North Salem in Westchester County, and Danny Wirchansky, from Stony Point in Rockland County.

“Just never give up. Even on your worst days, work hard and use that doubt to keep you moving forward and to keep that dream alive – use it as motivation.”

Above: NY Boulders pitcher, Luke Burton. Photo credit: Drew Wohl

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Boulders pitcher, Luke Burton, was born in, and still lives in Queens, N.Y., started his baseball career in Little League, played ball at Christ The King High School, and then went on to Molloy College. So connected is he to his local community that he told us, “Being so close to home it is nice and comfortable for me to be able to drive 40 minutes to get to each home game and have my mom feed me and to be able to sleep in my own bed each night.” In his high school career, he started out behind the plate as a catcher and subsequently moved to the mound to become a pitcher. With the average height of major league baseball pitchers being 6’3”, Luke sees his height as a major challenge. “My height is 5’8” and you don’t see too many major league players 5’8” or 5’9” – especially pitchers, so I have always had

a chip on my shoulder. I go out there with the idea that I have to be the biggest person on the field”, or at least play that way. His advice to young athletes, “Just never give up. Even on your worst days, work hard and use that doubt to keep you moving forward and to keep that dream alive – use it as motivation.” Phil Capra, one of the Boulders catchers, was born and raised in the Westchester County community of North Salem, attended North Salem High School and then went on to Staten Island’s Wagner College where he played ball for the Seahawks. “In high school, I played varsity as a freshman and started all four years. Going into my senior year, I committed to play at Wagner College and began playing as a freshman. After my junior year, in 2018, I got drafted by the New

York Mets.” Along the way, Phil faced and overcame many challenges. As he described for MetroSports Magazine, “The biggest step for me from high school to college was that I wasn’t the top dog right off the bat. When you come from a small town and you were one of the better players, you felt up there. In college, I had to earn my way as soon as I got there. From college to the pros, the biggest difference was the velocity of the pitchers – everyone in pro ball is throwing mid-90s and, at Wagner, we didn’t see too many guys like that. When you break it down, in high school you are the man, in college everyone was the man, in the pros everyone is THE man.” “Another challenge for me was that, coming from a small school, it was a bit tougher for me to

“You have to put in the work. Don’t just go out to the field and go through the motions – you have to really work at this game to be successful – you have to get out and work at any sport.”

Above: NY Boulders catcher, Phil Capra. Photo credit: Drew Wohl

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get looks to play on travel teams. Another is my size – I am only 5’10” and I really don’t pass anyone’s eye test. If you look at me, I don’t showcase well. I would not start off at the topo of anyone’s list. So, I knew that I had to know the game better than anyone else and I think that my baseball IQ is second to none. I think that my baseball IQ helps me compete with anyone else out on the field. Phil’s advice to young athletes is, “You have to put in the work. Don’t just go out to the field and go through the motions – you have to really work at this game to be successful – you have to get out and work at any sport.” Playing just a stone’s throw from home is Boulders pitcher, Danny Wirchansky. A graduate of North Rockland High School, Danny went on to Rockland Community College for a year, then on to Pace

University where he played varsity ball. During his college career he, unfortunately, suffered a serious elbow injury and underwent what is best known as Tommy John Surgery. Danny was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019 but, because of his injury and rehabilitation, did not pass the team’s physical exam and was released. So promising was his potential that he was signed by the Texas Rangers shortly after. Unfortunately he didn’t pass that team’s physical exam either and was, once again, released. Earlier this year, 2021, he signed on with the New York Boulders with the intention of working his way back to the majors. It seems clear that his elbow injury and Tommy John surgery were among the major challenges that Danny has faced and is working to overcome.

Never give up. You are going to face a lot of hard times and it may seem that it would be the easiest thing for you to fold...You have to do everything you can to achieve that goal.

Above: NY Boulders pitcher, Danny Wirchansky. Photo credit: Drew Wohl

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After sustaining his elbow injury, Danny told MetroSports that “the entire time I was going through all the examinations and the MRIs and not really knowing what was going on was a challenge. I got released. I never knew where I was or where I was going. Then, having the surgery and having to work my way back. It took a lot.” Danny’s advice for young athletes. “Never give up. You are going to face a lot of hard times and it may seem that it would be the easiest thing for you to fold and just go on to something different, but I was always told to never give up if it is something that you really love doing. You have to do everything you can to achieve that goal.”

Above: Stony Point Town Supervisor, Jim Monaghan, throws the ceremonial first pitch to start a Boulders game.

Above: A safe slide into second Below: Young fans greeting the mascot prior to the game

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Two New York Women Are Crowned 2021 National Golden Gloves Champions USA Boxing Metro wins five Medals in Tulsa, Oklahoma by Warren Rosenberg


he 2021 Golden Gloves of America National Tournament of Champions concluded on Saturday, August 14, 2021, after six days of boxing at the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Male and female boxers from across the United States represented 30 Golden Gloves franchises during the tournament that crowned 20 champions on Saturday. USA Boxing Metro is the local franchise committee overseeing member clubs and events the NYC, Long Island, Westchester, Dutchess, Sullivan, and Orange Counties. At the 2021 Golden Gloves National Tournament, Metro captured two gold medals and three bronze medals, a total of five medals for a team of only eleven (six men and five women). Bringing home the Gold as National Champions in their respective weight divisions were Sabrina Slattery (106 lbs) and Trudy Lee (141 lbs). Winning Bronze Medals for the strong performance were Lina Vezzani-Katano (112 lbs), Keith Colon (123 lbs), and Yana Tomalcheva (132 lbs).

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Facing page: National Champions, Trudy Li and Sabrina Slattery Photo courtesy USA Boxing Metro

Given the challenges of missing more than a year of training and competition, USA Boxing Metro president, Ray Quadrado, was pleased with his team’s showing saying, “2018 was a great year that saw a surge in membership, events, live streaming, and Metro’s social media footprint enlarge exponentially as the year progressed. It was the year many of our top Junior Olympians and Youth graduated into the Senior and Elite divisions. It was also the year the National Golden Gloves of America joined the male and female national tournaments and helped Metro continue its dominance on regional and national levels. 2020 saw a crushing blow to NY delivered by Covid-19 and statewide shutdowns of “non-essential” activity. Many moved out of NY as a coping and survival strategy. Metro also experienced an exodus of its Elite athletes to other states to compete as amateurs or professional boxers, which always happens after an Olympic selection year but was exacerbated by the conditions on the ground mentioned above. Mid-year 2021 brought life back to NY with reopening and a return to boxing. Our first tournament, the 12th Annual NY Boxing Tournament, saw a low registration and a shortage of experience the likes have not

been seen since its inception in 2008. However, this low was met with high-level energy and enthusiasm, producing capacity events and the highest participation ratio I’ve ever seen in my years as a tournament administrator to build a team of eager but nationally inexperienced athletes. Fortunately, the Metro Board of Directors foresaw the need to allow our athletes to gain much-needed experience despite the cost to Metro amidst financial challenges due to Covid. All of this was really to put into light the enormity of the achievement of Team Metro out in Tulsa. Each bout, win or lose, was boxed with a tremendous and valiant effort. All of the losses were very close but winnable, allowing lessons to be learned making improvement imminent. Metro placed 4th in team totals out of 30 franchises. Let’s put that in proper perspective by realizing that Texas & Florida, 1st & 2nd teams, never experienced the type of shutdown to their boxing programs that NY did. Gold medalist and National Golden Gloves Champion in ths 106 pound division, Sabrina Slattery commented on her road to the Championship . “When I first started boxing I thought that in order to be successful, you had to have that perfect record

USA Boxing Metro’s New York Team at the National Championships in Tulsa Competitors Coaches and Officials Name Weight Class Club Name Keith Colon* M 123lbs NYC COPS AND KIDS BC Antonino Tantillo M 138lbs Gym X Boxing Jayson Capetillo M 152lbs Brotherhood Boxing Club Sharif One M 165lbs EL MAESTRO BOXING GYM Arjan Iseni M 178lbs BARS BOXING CO Granville Gittens M 201lbs Starrett City BC Sabrina Slattery** F 106lbs NYC COPS AND KIDS BC Lina Vezzani-Katano* F 112lbs Unattached Yana Tolmacheva* F 132lbs Underground Boxing Gym Trudy Li** F 141lbs Sweatbox Nicole Malpeso F 152lbs FDNY BRAVEST BOXING

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Ilya Friedman William Creel Akmoljan Zakirov Argenis Arce Ilya Mesishchev Argjent Iseni Keith Colon Lenny Wilson Mike Figueroa Ray Montalvo Ray Cuadrado

Official Official Team Coach Team Coach Coach Coach Coach Coach Coach Coach Team Manager

like Mayweather or Shields. Whether I liked it or not, that didn’t happen for me but, there was no way I could stop boxing. I loved practicing it too much.” “I definitely started fighting prematurely, I honestly had no idea what the daily news golden gloves was when I was told to sign up in 2017, I didn’t know what an 8 count was, I didn’t know a lot of basic things & it blows my mind now that I did that all without getting hurt or anything.”

of my losses. And in the end, I’m going to be the best version of myself because they forced me to continually work hard, show up and give it my all to become better.” “I dreamt about winning this tournament for years now but, I dont feel accomplished, I feel like I’m just getting started and have a lot of work to do. & that’s fine with me, perfecting my craft is the part I love the most.”

“For females, especially, without a novice class in tournaments like the golden gloves and also being very small in size with limited sparring, I had to learn everything the hard way and it used to really destroy me. Of course, it hurt when I lost. I sacrifice so much for this sport. But, one day I just started embracing it. Every loss made me better. If I lost to someone with a better jab, it ultimately made my jab better. If I lost to someone faster, it made me faster. I’m the boxer I am today because Below: Sabrina Slattery with her Golden Gloves Champions Belt Right: Comparing her new bling with Public Enemy’s Flavr Flav

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Gold medalist and National Golden Gloves Champion in ths 141 pound division, Trudy Li summed up her experience for us. “Nationals was a great experience. Honestly I think I lucked out having such a great team and coach there. I haven’t fought since 2018 because of injuries- so it was quite the jump back into competing again. Overall, I’m just excited to have the opportunity to fight again and I’m looking forward to staying active. Winning National Golden Gloves was wonderful, but I’m looking forward to training more and just becoming an overall better fighter.” Trudy sends a special thanks to USA Boxing Metro “for this incredible opportunity to represent and to be part of such an amazing team and to my coaches for this fight camp and always pushing me to my limits.” Above: Trudy Li with her Championship Belt back home at SweatBox Brooklyn, Photo credit Trudy Li Facebbo and Blow, with her coaches in Tulsa, Photo courtesy USA Boxing Metro.

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Above Lett: and Rught Yana Tolmacheva and Lina Vezzani-Katano victorious at the July 31 Qualifying event Below: The USA Boxing Metro Team in Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Above left: USA Boxing Metro’s 2021 Qualifying Event poster Above Right: USA Boxing Metro president Ray Quadrado securing NY Boxing Championship belt on Trudy Li Below: Jason Capetillo in Qualifying Action. Photo Credit - Clark Thompson

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Above and Below: Qualifying action from the July 24th show at Poughkeepsie’s Floyd Patterson Boxing Photo credit - Clark Thompson

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New York Strongest Man & Woman After a Year Missed Because of the Covid Pandemic The Tournament Returns


t was 20 months ago, on January 18th 2020, that the New York Strong Gym in Mamaroneck hosted the New York Strong-est Man and Woman 7 Competition in the Westchester County Center. On March 1st of that year, New York State reported its first confirmed case of Covid-19 and, shortly after, the County Center closed to be repurposed as an emergency overflow hospital and vaccination center. As some semblance of normal life began to return this spring, the County Center remained unavailable and alternative plans had to be made to run the New York Strong-est Man and Woman 8 competition. On Saturday, July 24th 2021, the United States Strongman organization sanctioned five events across the country including the Granite State Strongman Challenge in New Hampshire, the Jenn Strongwoman Competition in Florida, America’s Strongest Veteran in Virginia, America’s Strongest Athlete with Disabilities in Ohio and, right here in New York City’s suburban backyard, the New York Strong-est Man and Woman 8 Competition in Mamaroneck, New York. Hosted by Mamaroneck’s New York Strong gym, the competition took place under sunny skies on the beautiful waterfront of Mamaroneck’s Harbor Island Park.

Text and photos by Warren Rosenberg

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Over Eighty athletes competed in 13 divisions ranging from Novice Lightweight through Open Super Heavyweight. The athletes competed in five unique and distinct events challenging both strength and endurance. In addition to the more well-known and easily understood events characteristic of strongman contests such as the Circus Dumbell Press, other challenges included the Keg Carry & Load, Fingal Finger, Car Deadlift and Truck Pull. In these last two

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events, competitors were challenged by lifting either a 2,500 pound Fiat 500 or a 4,300 pound Dodge Charger and by pulling a 50 ton truck a timed distance of up to 80 feet. Winners of the event included senior rescue dogs of the Special Needs Senior Dog Sanctuary...and some humans. Blythe Adamo, Novice Women’s Lightweight Melissa Ruiz, Novice Women’s Heavyweight Pamela Hyde, Open Women’s Middleweight Stevie Aligbe, Open Women’s Super Heavyweight Jeanne Brunner, Masters Women Charles Arliss, Novice Men’s Lightweight Michael Layton, Novice Men’s Heavyweight Charles Mikell, Open Men’s Lightweight Michael Remieres, Open Men’s Middleweight Steve Tripp, Open Men’s Heavyweight Justin Legere, Open Men’s Super Heavyweight Ed Shore III, Masters Men’s Middleweight Tomy Meconiates, Masters Men’s Heavyweight

One of the competitors with whom we spoke following the event was a Manhattan business owner and former Muay Thai fighter, Watt Sriboonruang. Watt is the founder and head chef of a raw dessert boutique, Rawsome Treats, located at 158 Orchard Street on Manhattan’s lower east side. On the Rawsome Treats website, she is described as “a health nut, Muay Thai contender and talented chef who thrives on living a plant-based lifestyle. She learned how powerful a raw plant-based diet could be while training for one of her amateur Muay Thai fights in 2012.”

Full results can be found on the Iron Podium website at: Over $3,400 was raised for the Special Needs Senior Dog Sanctuary Below: Competitors ready for the start of competition

Above: Event co-promoter Anna Giorgi with one of the senior dogs

Facing Page: Competitor Watt Sriboonruang in various strength events

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We were intrigued about what would compel a young woman, talented chef, and former professional photographer to pursue as her leisure activity a combat martial art and strongman competition. Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Watt told us about her upbringing by “an amazing and tough single mother” which may help to explain her inner toughness. “My mom is a great role model of hard work and integrity - she is tough as nails.” She added “the late King Rama 9 of Thailand was my role model on integrity, diligence and multi-talents.” As for her leisure activity pursuits, Watt went on to explain that, “Muay Thai and Strongman are both all about ‘one thing leads to another’ and I am always curious to know what I am capable of. I don’t mind doing something over and over as long as I get to learn what I can and can’t do. Once I’m on it, it’s hard for me to stop. I can keep grinding until I collapse. (for example; I did 159 consecutive days of hot yoga, twice on some days until I herniated my disc and couldn’t walk. Did over 30 days straight of stairs workout at Fort Greene Park. Did 30 days of juice fast., etc). If someone throws some stupid challenge at me, I will accept it just to test out my capability.” Just how her involvement in Muay Thai led to her opening her own desert business was explained to us as follows. “5. Just like most fighters, I had to go through weight cut during each fight camp. I didn’t want to sacrifice my sweet tooth for my health and weight cuts so I started making my own raw healthy desserts and shared with fellow Muay fighters and gym mates. Then I started taking orders by demand from people in the Muay Thai community. Word of mouth led me to various types of customers from athletes, food enthusiasts and people dietary restrictions. Rawsome Treats started out in my own kitchen without any expectation to make this as a real business. Three years into it, I had to turn down my photography assignments and focus on marking pies and cakes. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I sacrificed a lot, especially my physical

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and mental health but, I wouldn’t ask for an easy way. The hardship during the journey has given so much insight about life.” And this is just one of stories behind the variety of individuals who compete in strongman/strongwoman competitions. Her advise to young people and, in particular to young women is: “If you are curious about it, just do it. If you doubt yourself, just do it. If people say don’t do it, just do it anyway.” She did.

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