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Wrestling For Your Dreams Is Truly Worth It

Ish Sharma Darpan, 26 Sep, 2022
  • Wrestling For Your Dreams Is Truly Worth It

It is every parent’s dream that their children achieve great heights and continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible and these youth have done just that. They have filled the hearts of the South Asian community with pride by gaining recognition on the world stage. They have wrestled for their dreams because they always knew that putting up a good fight would be worth it and would bring you gold. 

Such is the story of young inspiring, hard working South Asian men who have broken barriers in the sport of wrestling. The recent Commonwealth Games in England saw three Indo-Canadian wrestlers compete and defeat their respective opponents in freestyle wrestling of various levels. Amarveer Singh Dhesi and Nishan Singh Randhawa both brought home a gold medal for Canada. Jasmit Singh Phulka was the winner in the bronze medal category. 

They are all professionals in the sport of wrestling who have been coached since they were about six to eight years old. Let’s find out more about these young men who not only serve as positive role models within the South Asian community but who will continue to fight hard and win big. 

Amarveer Singh Dhesi

Gold Medalist, 2022 Commonwealth Games

26 year old Amar Dhesi as he is lovingly called was born and raised in Surrey. Dhesi currently wrestles for team Canada and the Ohio Regional Training Centre and helps coach at the Khalsa wrestling club. He defeated his opponent Zaman Anwar of Pakistan in the gold-medal match to claim the men’s 125 kg title at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

Dhesi was determined to turn his dreams into reality. Dhesi faced hardships during his sport but welcomed them as challenges on his road to success.  Dhesi injured his ACL three times in a short span of six years and underwent two surgeries but never gave up. This resulted in him missing two seasons of competition for Oregon State University. Despite all odds, he kept going and had his best college season in 2018 when he won the second of his three Pac-12 titles and finished third at the NCAA Division I Championships earning him the title of Oregon State Male Athlete of the Year. He finished his collegiate career as a three-time All-American. Dhesi made his first appearance on the international stage when he won 120kg gold at the 2014 World Junior Championships. He competed at his first senior worlds in 2018. Dhesi is still pinching himself on this gold win with another medal to his tally. He wants to give a huge shout out to his family and friends as he couldn’t have done it without them. 

Q. What does winning a gold mean to you at the Commonwealth Games?

Birmingham was awesome. It my first time in England. The greatest part of the whole event were the fans. It honestly felt like home. After I won, I had an interview and the interviewer asked you had so many family and friends cheering you on. I replied I had nobody, all my friends and family are back home. I am not sure who these people are but they are awesome. 

Q. Canada has been your home and has given you so much- how good does it feel to represent Canada and win a gold medal for the country?

 I am very fortunate to do this full time as a career and represent Canada at the highest level in sport, I consider myself grateful. My parents came from India as immigrants and settled down here and for me to represent Canada at the world stage is truly amazing. 

Q. What is your training schedule like?

We begin with workout, eat, sleep and then workout again throughout the day. It is a total of three-four hours a day. It is comprised of lifting five times a week and on the mats about four to five times a week. 

Q. So what’s next?

Competing at the World Championship in Serbia. In 2022 I set my sights on winning the Pan American Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, and now I am wanting to win at the World Championship. I feel I am two thirds of the way there. 

Q.What message would you like to share with the South Asian community especially the youth?

The South Asian community has supported me my whole life. Overall, I want to say a huge thank you and I truly feel fortunate. I have been put in this role as a role model and I have associated with a lot of young kids over the years and received many messages  so I certainly hope that I can continue that.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • 5-time Canadian national champion 
  • 3-time All-American NCAA DIV. 1
  • Oregon State male Athlete of the year (2016, 2018) 
  • 2022 Commonwealth Games champion
  • 2022 Pan-American Champion 
  • 2021 Tokyo Olympian 
  • 2021 Italy Ranking Series champion (international event) 
  • 2019 Poland Open champion (international event) 
  • 2014 Junior World Champion

 

Nishan Singh Randhawa

Gold Medalist, 2022 Commonwealth Games

Nishan Singh Randhawa started wrestling at the age of eight. He coached under Boota Dhinsa and Avtar Dhinsa. His most recent accomplishment is his gold medal win in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. He defeated his South African opponent Nicolaas De Lange 9-3 in the 97Kg freestyle wrestling in Birmingham, England. He is a University graduate with a degree in criminology. He received a full scholarship to pursue his degree from Simon Fraser University.  He is also a Junior World Bronze Medalist in 2015. He is also a 3x Junior Pan America Champion. Also a 3x Junior National Champion and 4x Senior National Champion. He trained with the Guru Gobind Singh Wrestling Club in Abbotsford. He began coaching as a volunteer to the kids that come to the club. Randhawa is currently training for the 2024 Olympic trials and doing his training in Northern Iowa.

Randhawa is thrilled on his win and he truly appreciates the support of the South Asian community over the years. He is looking forward to once again making the community proud and being able to put on performances equivalent to the Commonwealth Games at the 2024 Olympics. 

Randhawa is thrilled on his win and he truly appreciates the support of the South Asian community over the years. He is looking forward to once again making the community proud and being able to put on performances equivalent to the Commonwealth Games at the 2024 Olympics. 

Q. What does winning a gold mean to you at the Commonwealth Games?

It was my first time competing at the game even just any games in general so it was a  whole different atmosphere speaking with the crowd.  I honestly didn’t know that Birmingham had such a big Indian community and once we started wrestling and we were walking down the ramp to go to the matches everyone was screaming and shouting, it’s kind of distracting at one point but it was nice to see that we had so much support even if there are Canadians or if there were holding Indian flags everyone cheering for us was actually really nice to see.

Q. Canada has been your home and has given you so much- how good does it feel to represent Canada and win a gold medal for the country?

My parents came in 1997 so they’ve been working every single day. My dad’s been doing two jobs since I was young. Their hard work is commendable and when we meet our  opponents they say if they win this medal they will have wealth and change their whole family structure. So I am  very fortunate to have somewhere to sleep and have food on the table. So yes really grateful for this and it’s nice to see that we can give back something to Canada, the place I call home. 

Q. What is your training schedule like?

The morning after a nutritious breakfast we usually do two hours of training  which consists of weight lifting and running. Then in the evening, there is mat training which is about two hours. A total of four hours a day and six days a week is the training. 

Q. So what’s next? 

I am working towards competing in the 2024 Olympics. Hoping to win a gold medal at the world’s largest sporting event. 

Q.What message would you like to share with the South Asian community especially the youth?

The South Asian community has supported me my whole life. Overall, I want to say a huge thank you and I truly feel fortunate. I have been put in this role as a role model and I have associated with a lot of young kids over the years and received many messages so I certainly hope that I can continue that.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS           

  • 3x Provincial Champion 
  • 4x Highschool National Champion 
  • 3x Junior National Champion 
  • 4x Senior National Champion 
  • 3x Junior Pan American Champion
  • Senior Pan American Bronze Medalist
  • Junior World Bronze Medalist 
  • 2022 Commonwealth Games Champion

                                                    

Jasmit Singh Phulka

Bronze Medalist, 2022 Commonwealth Games

Jasmit Singh Phulka (born October 11, 1993) is a Canadian freestyle wrestler. Phulka was born and raised in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He is the grandson of Late Gurmit Singh and Late Shangar Kaur Phulka. He is the son of Harjit Singh and Supinderjit Kaur Phulka. His elder brother, Chanmit is also a Pan American Champion wrestler. Phulka began his wrestling career at a young age of 10. Phulka’s first medal in the seniors’ category was in the 2013 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship which was held in Johannesburg.  In 2018, Phulka debuted at the World Wrestling Championships which was held in Budapest. He represented Canada in the 84 kg weight class and won bronze.2018 was a pivotal year in his seniors’ career as he won three medals. It was a gold, a silver and a bronze in the 2018 Sassari Cup, 2018 Grand Prix of Spain, and 2018 Mongolia Cup respectively.They were all in the 74 kg weight class. Phulka won the 74-kg title at the Canadian Olympic Wrestling Trials that was conducted in December 2019.In November 2020, Cyclone Regional Training Center announced that Phulka will be a part of them as he is training to represent Canada in the 2020 Olympics. Phulka missed out on the chance of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics as he lost to Franklin Gomez 10–7 in the quarter final and was only able to secure the bronze medal in the 2020 Pan American Wrestling Olympic Qualification Tournament. Phulka recently won a bronze medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. He had a great win over a top 5 ranked opponent in the world. Phulka takes pride in being a natural drug-free athlete and competing in the hardest weight class in the world. Phulka is also the only Indo Canadian wrestler to ever represent Canada at the senior level in 74kg.

Phulka has had success in both wrestling and as an avid volunteer in the community. He represents Canada at the highest level of wrestling in the hardest weight class in the world and is the only Indo-Canadian and of Sikh faith to ever wrestle in 74kg. He continues to break barriers and put Indo Canadians on the map on an international scale. He also uses his platform to volunteer and advocate for underserved members of the community. Below lists the extensive accomplishments of Phulka in the sport of wrestling and his community involvement is highlighted in the other sections as well. Phulka is excited about his recent win and is immensely grateful to his coaches for throwing their support behind him throughout his childhood and beyond. 

Q. What does winning a gold mean to you at the Commonwealth Games?

The experience was awesome. It is overwhelming I think that love we got when we got to Birmingham, England. The energy was amazing, the fans were excited to have us there and a lot of people loved me and loved the way I wrestled. 

Q. Canada has been your home and has given you so much- how good does it feel to represent Canada and win a gold medal for the country?

It feels amazing.I think I am just scratching the surface of many great things to come.   I’m going to do a lot for Canada and I’m going to make this country proud and I’m proud to be in this country. 

Q. What is your training schedule like?

I train six hours daily both morning and  evening for six days a week. It is a combination of cardio, weight lifting, and then mats. 

Q. So what’s next?

I am working towards competing in the 2024 Olympics.

Q.What message would you like to share with the South Asian community especially the youth?

I just want to say that don’t focus on the wins and losses don’t focus on the gold medals, the silver, or the bronze everything comes in its due time and course. God has a bigger picture for everyone and the most important thing you can focus on is your hard work and dedication. I’m not proud of these medals. I’m proud that I’ve done this the hard and natural way. I never took any banned substances you can win all the medals but if you are cheating I don’t consider you to be a champion. It’s all about integrity, hardwork, discipline, and staying true to yourself. 

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • 13 years as a member of the Canadian National Team. Senior National Team for seven years and current
  • Represented Canada at six World Championships. Four Senior World Championships. 2018/2019/2021/2022
  • 2022 Commonwealth Games Bronze 74kg
  • Pan Am Olympic Qualifier Bronze 74kg 2020
  • 5X time BC Medalist: Gold medalist in 2010 and 2011
  • 15X National Medalist: Gold medalist in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2020,2021. (Nine Senior Medals)
  • 3X Commonwealth Medalist: Gold medalist in 2010. Senior Commonwealth Bronze 2013/2017
  • 3X Pan American Medalist. Silver 2010, Senior Bronze 2019
  • Silver medalist at the Moldova Cup 2013
  • Gold medalist at the Australia Cup and Silver Medalist in 2009
  • Gold medalist at the City of Sassari Cup Italy in 2018
  • Silver City of Sassari Cup Italy in 2021
  • Bronze medalist at the Mongolia Open in 2018
  • Silver medalist at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2018
  • 5X Canada Cup Medalist. Gold in 2010,2019,2022 Silver in 2015,2017
  • Outstanding Wrestler Award at Commonwealth Championships and Australia Cup
  • Mananhana Championship Aftab E Hind India 80kg Bronze 2022
  • NCWA All American in 2011
  • Competed at six Pan American Championships. Five Senior Pan American Championships
  • Abbotsford Sports Wall of Fame Inductee (2011)
  • Successful toy drive in two years raised over 35 thousand dollars 

 

 

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