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On a seaside podium in Lebanon, Halim al-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.The tournament in Jounieh, just north of Beirut, is the second annual nationwide contest organized by the country's arm wrestling federation."Arm wrestling has been part of my life since I was a child," said Harb, competing professionally for the first time.Despite possessing bulging arms and facing a 14-year old opponent, luck was not on his side. Of the 300 participants in this summer's nationwide tournament, one in six were women.The winner of the women's competition on the day, 16-year-old Teresa Bassil, agreed.
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