Meet Agy: the arm-wrestling security guard

Mike and Agy prepare to arm-wrestle Sports presenter Mike Bushell prepares to take on Agy...
Agy defeats Mike ...and easily loses

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For anyone who works or visits the Salford offices, Agnieska Gorzynska is a familiar face. Better known as Agy, she is one of the security guards that usually greet you with a friendly hello and smile.

But she is also a British women's champion in arm-wrestling, despite only taking the sport up a year ago.

Born in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz, she used to do karate and kayaking as a teenager. However, after a trip to the gym, she got addicted to lifting weights and started body-building at the age of 15.

Agy entered competitions but then gave it up because "I like my food too much so I couldn't go through with the diet regime".

"You have to watch what you eat and count every single calorie, but that was not making me happy at all," she recalls.

Career change

Start Quote

There are not many girls doing arm-wrestling”

End Quote Agy Gorzynska

She moved to the UK in 2005, having qualified as a butcher, or, she rolls her eyes here, a "meat processing specialist".

But after working at an abattoir in a north Yorkshire village, she decided to change career. She has now been a Balfour Beatty security guard at BBC North since it opened in 2011.

Agy stills enjoys strength sports such as powerlifting, but she wanted to try something different between shifts.

"I needed to do something with myself and I was thinking of martial arts. People talk about fitness yoga but I'm not interested in that so a friend said I should try arm-wrestling."

Russian domination

She heard about a training club in Wigan and now commutes there regularly to practice with other competitors.

Agy at reception Agy is a familiar face at BBC North

"In the UK, there are not many girls doing arm-wrestling - it's very limited," she explains. However her club, known as Leigh Pulling Power, has a reputation for churning out champions.

A lack of female participants meant Agy was entered for the British professional championships in August, with less than a year's training.

"It was not as big as I was expecting because it's not that popular," she admits.

There are often different categories for contestants, including for those who are left-handed like Agy, but she uses both arms when competing.

"It's easier to use the left but I have to think a bit more when using the right arm."

Yet she still took the title of British arm-wrestling champion in the left class, alongside her club-mate Hayley Dickenson in the right. Both automatically qualified for the World Cup this November, which took place in Warsaw.

Agy's family in Poland proudly watched her secure fourth place but she reckons it's possibly the worst position, having just missed out on the medals.

"The Russians and all of Eastern Europe have a massive, massive domination in the sport. You can see they have a different level of training," she explains.

Arm-wrestle safety

There are regular competitions in arm-wrestling, and Agy is aiming for next year's World Championships in Lithuania. A much bigger contest, it draws more enthusiasm from participants and crowds.

Agy arm-wrestles at World Cup Agy came fourth in her first World Cup

With the Christmas break coming up, it's not unlikely that many people will challenge friends and relatives to an arm-wrestle. But Agy's tips are, first and foremost, keep it safe.

"It's dead easy to break your arm," she warns. "You need to be opposite each other across a flat, strong table - not on the same side of a bar."

She recommends people watch their arm and not look around, showing off to mates. It's easier to win an arm-wrestle if you avoid bending the wrist - you may snap it - but instead curl your hand in and pull the opponent's arm down.

Agy's exploits haven't gone unnoticed at the Salford offices, where BBC North chief Peter Salmon has been updating staff about her achievements, describing her as a "security angel". She has also been filmed by CBBC for Sam & Mark's Big Friday Wind-Up.

It's definitely makes people feel safer knowing Agy's around.

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