Ohio’s Strongest Puts Some Muscle into Helping Boardman Girl

STRUTHERS, Ohio – Competitors in the fourth annual Ohio’s Strongest competition will push themselves to the limit by deadlifting, flipping tires and pulling a truck, all in the hopes of qualifying for the national competition and setting some new world records.

But those competing at the event this year also will be supporting a strong little girl, Nora Sabella, a 9-year-old Boardman girl currently battling another round with cancer.

“I just couldn’t imagine going through cancer once, let alone three times before the age of 10,” said co-organizer and promoter Alex Ankerman.

Nora’s mother has set up a Facebook page, Nora – Warrior Princess, to update friends and family during her courageous battle against neuroblastoma.  

The Ohio’s Strongest event has grown each year, starting with 60 competitors in 2020. In three years it has not only more than doubled the competitors but also raised $14,500, which has gone to support a local cancer patient each year. 

Nora Sabella of Boardman.

The event, presented by the Iron Fit Crew Functional Fitness Center, will be held in Struthers on Aug. 19. This year, Ankerman said they are expecting 150 competitors from 10 states, Canada and Wales.

Professional-level athletes will be attempting to break records in the morning, followed by five events throughout the afternoon with the top three competitors qualifying for Strongman competitions at the national level. Athletes from teenagers into their 60s will be competing, including lifting stones and fire hydrants and moving water barrels and vehicles.

There will also be a Strongest Block Party, a free event for spectators to enjoy the competition held in a blocked off large area of Spring Street in downtown Struthers. Last year’s event drew about 400 spectators.

“We just want people to come out and have fun and help us support Nora,” Ankerman said.

Ankerman is also hoping that with the event’s growth, more businesses will help them with sponsorships, more vendors will partner with them and more organizations will volunteer to help them host the competition, which has become one of the largest Strongman competitions in the state.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.