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Deborah Roach, One-Armed Pole Dancer, Wins International Championship

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Deborah Roach pole-dances in her International Pole Championship contestant profile video.
Deborah Roach pole-dances in her International Pole Championship contestant profile video.

At last week's International Pole Championship in Hong Kong, Australia's Deborah Roach out-maneuvered her competitors to win first place in her division -- with the aid of only one arm.

The championships focus on "pole art," which emphasizes the fitness and creativity components of pole routines, the International Business Times reported.

According to the Telegraph, Roach felt like she didn't belong in "normal" society and sought refuge dancing in the underground Goth scene as a teen, ultimately getting into stage dancing in clubs. In 2006, the paper reported, she was inspired by a circus-themed double act and decided to take up pole dancing and aerial acrobatics.

But Roach also held a very "normal" job until 2009, Jezebel wrote. The Australian worked in information technology until she won a general pole competition, besting dancers with two arms and more experience. While she got her first prosthetic soon thereafter and learned to ride a bike at 28 years old, she still competes without the aid of the additional limb.

In her competitor profile page, Roach wrote of her unexpected career, "I have always loved dancing but as a child and teen with low self esteem I believed that aesthetic and athletic pursuits were not for me, not for my 'different' body... Luckily as an adult, I learned to challenge my assumptions."

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