Surrey wrestler Amar Dhesi eyes Olympics after winning silver at junior world championships

Published: August 19, 2014
Surrey wrestler

Amar Dhesi won a silver medal for Canada at the FILA junior freestyle world championships this month in Crotia and, in June, a gold medal at the junior Pan-American Championships. His father, Balbir Dhesi, started Newton’s Khalsa Wrestling Club 38 years ago where Amar started his career. (KYLE BENNING/Surrey Now)


NEWTON — Thirty-eight years ago, Balbir Dhesi opened Khalsa Wrestling Club, the first Indo-Canadian wrestling club in Surrey. Today, he celebrates his son winning a silver medal at the junior world championships.

Amarveer (Amar) Dhesi is the first Canadian in 25 years to stand on the podium at the FILA Junior World Wrestling Championship.

Dhesi, who is entering his sophomore season wrestling with the Oregon State University Beavers, won three straight matches before losing to the defending champion, Geno Petriashvili of Georgia, in the final.

The Georgian beat Dhesi 10-0 in the freestyle heavyweight (120 kg) final, which was held in Zagreb, Croatia from Aug. 5 to Aug. 10.

This was Dhesi’s first international tournament and he said that it was a good experience.”I’m happy with second place,” said the silver-medalist.

“The next step is next year, I’m going there to win. I’m going to win gold for Canada in the worlds.

“I was confident with myself. I’m a confident guy. I know in wrestling you need to be confident, but not over-confident. I felt I was prepared. The whole year prepared me for this. I’ve been working for this goal since I was a kid,” he added.

The junior Canadian national champion started off the tournament sweeping Korea’s Kim Seongsu 10-0 in the round of 16.

Dhesi followed that match with a 12-3 win against Turkey’s Yusuf Emre Dede in the quarter-final.In the semifinal, Dhesi went up against a familiar face in the University of Michigan’s Adam Coon.

Dhesi beat him when he was in high school, and beat the American 7-6 to qualify for the final.In the final, Petriashvili managed to hold Dhesi scoreless to maintain an untarnished record by not conceding a single point throughout the championships.

Dhesi credits his father – who held a national championship in India – for starting his wrestling training at a young age.

“He works with me 24-seven,” Dhesi said.

“At home, we’ll be sitting and I won’t get five minutes alone. He’ll start showing me moves or talking about wrestling. He’s been on me my whole life. It paid off.”

Carrying on the wrestling club his father started is something both he and his brother, Parm, want to do, Dhesi said.

“I’m the third generation of wrestling. My dad wrestled, my grandpa wrestled. I’m going to keep it going for sure,” he said.

Dhesi graduated from Burnaby Central Secondary, and is on a full-ride scholarship at OSU.

He finished his rookie NCAA season with a 27-10 record, a silver medal at the PAC-12 championships and a 2-2 record at the national championships.

He also won the gold medal at the JuniorPan-American Championships, which was held in Toronto in June.Even though he is turning 19 years old in a few months, Dhesi said he believes he’s ready to jump to the senior level so he can achieve a few more of his goals.

For the past two years, he has been training to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“I’m not hoping to make the team. I’m hoping to get a medal.”

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