Third-generation grappler from Burnaby earns scholarship to highly ranked Oregon State

Published: February 26, 2013


Amar Dhesi

Burnaby Central Secondary School’s Amar Dhesi is one of the province’s top wrestlers and inherited his love of the sport from his father and grandfather, both of whom wrestled in India. Ric Ernst/PNG

There is a YouTube video from the summer of 2011 in which wrestler Amar Dhesi is being interviewed in a hospital room after suffering an injury during a Team B.C. practice session at the Western Canada Summer Games.

Dhesi’s left ankle is wrapped in a bandages, and there are a pair of crutches propped up against the wall.

“But I still wrestled,” the senior grappler from Burnaby Central Secondary recalled with a laugh last week. “They taped it up really well, and the next day I went out and won the meet.”

On the eve of the 2013 B.C. high school wrestling championships, set to begin a three-day run Thursday at the Island Savings Centre arena in Duncan, uttering the phrase ‘lead-pipe cinch’ is a sure-fire way to steer the conversation to Dhesi, the insanely talented super-heavyweight who brings the nuanced skills of a much lighter competitor to the mat in the frame of a 6-foot-2, 260-pound giant.

To provide a frame of reference from the sport of basketball, Dhesi would be just like your average, run-of-the-mill 6-foot-10 point guard.

“He is just special,” begins Gianni Buono, the Burnaby Central head coach who has been coaching at the high school level for 24 years. “He just knows how to move for a big man. I’d like to say kid, but he is a man. He has all the skills of a lightweight wrestler. He doesn’t wrestle like a heavyweight.”

An absolute stickler for technique, Dhesi, who proudly proclaims himself to be “a third generation wrestler,” inherited his love for the sport from his father Baldir, and from his grandfather, both of whom wrestled in India.

Older brother Parm, now a freshman kingpin on the mat at Douglas College, provided about as stern a training partner as you could find. Parm, in fact, beat his younger brother at 110 kilos in the B.C. high school final back in 2011 and is now up for Sport B.C.’s High School Athlete of the Year.

With that kind of a family tree, it’s not surprising that Dhesi first hit the mat at age five. Along the way, he has won numerous national titles, including two prestigious FILA cadet crowns. Come Saturday, he’ll be attempting to win his third B.C. high school gold medal.

And Dhesi’s success has done more than catch the attention of some of the biggest collegiate wrestling programs around. This fall, he heads off to Oregon State on a full-ride scholarship, joining a Beavers’ program currently ranked ninth in NCAA Div. 1, the highest ranking of any school in the western half of the U.S.

The Beavers couldn’t help but notice Dhesi. Last year, at a regional competition in the U.S., Dhesi easily beat Oregon State’s No. 1-rated incoming freshman grappler, even though he was a full year younger.

Take one look at his physique, and the first thing you think is raw, brute strength. But as Dhesi is quick to say: “For me it’s always been my technique before my strength. You just have to go out there, stay on the mat, and practice one move a thousand times.”

Adds Buono: “We have a very technical sport, every move is technical. Your hand grip and placement is so important in being successful, and he has mastered all the fine details.

Developmentally, for his age, he is at a senior national level. He can compete with men and that is extremely unusual. A lot of times at that level you can’t compete as a heavyweight because strength and power will overwhelm technique at those weight classes. But he has both and I have never seen it before.

“Of all the kids I have coached,” continued Buono, “there is no doubt that he is the best at this stage of the game, and I don’t even know how many provincial and national champions we have had.”

Weigh-ins for both the boys and girls goes on Thursday, with competitors hitting the mat for competition Friday and Saturday.

Tags: , , , , ,


India pachydermal love story

Indian elephant heartbroken after partner’s death

VANCOUVER DESI An elephant in India has been diagnosed with a broken heart after its partner died on Tuesday, according to the Hindustan Times. The…
Continue Reading »

Police tape

Woman found dead in Abbotsford park identified as Mission resident

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police have identified a woman found dead in Mill Lake Park on Wednesday morning as a 36-year-old Mission resident. The…
Continue Reading »

monkey man

India employs men dressed in ape suits to scare away monkeys from parliament

VANCOUVER DESI The Indian government has hired ape-men or men dressed as langurs to scare off monkeys from the parliament and government buildings, according to…
Continue Reading »


Police tape

Woman found dead in Abbotsford park identified as Mission resident

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police have identified a woman found dead in Mill Lake Park on Wednesday morning as a 36-year-old Mission resident. The…
Continue Reading »

medical distress

RCMP seek public’s help to identify woman found in medical distress in Burnaby

VANCOUVER DESI The Burnaby RCMP are seeking public’s help in identifying an unknown woman who was found “in medical distress” on Wednesday. Police said she…
Continue Reading »


Surrey councillor Barinder Rasode set to launch next phase of “summer engagement series”

VANCOUVER DESI As she gears up for the upcoming Surrey election this fall, city councillor Barinder Rasode is launching the next phase of her “summer…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...


Minor allegedly raped by temple priest in southern India

HINDUSTAN TIMES An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a temple priest in Bangalore on Tuesday, less than a month after a seven-year-old was raped…
Continue Reading »


Miss Diva 2014 gears up for auditions

IANS New Delhi – Miss Diva, that was launched last year as an official franchise from India for Miss Universe, is set to start auditions…
Continue Reading »

Scene from Airtel's latest commercial. YouTube/Screengrab.

Indian telecom company’s not so progressive ad featuring a “boss wife” causes Twitter reaction

IANS New Delhi  – Is a woman who calls the shots in the office then goes home to cook for her husband – who’s also…
Continue Reading »

child death

Toddler falls into pot of boiling syrup, dies

  IANS New Delhi – A three-year-old boy died after he fell into a pot of boiling sugar syrup, police said here Wednesday. The child,…
Continue Reading »

Merritt music festival

Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds. “Bass Coast Festival…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest


Kick: Salman Khan, Sajid Nadiadwala kick up a storm

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Kick”; Cast: Salman Khan, Randeep Hooda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Jacqueline Fernandez; Director: Sajid Nadiadwala; Rating: **** “Kick toh banta hai,…
Continue Reading »


Indian author pens sequel to Jeffrey Archer’s ‘First Among Equals’ for Bollywood film

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Mumbai – In what must qualify as a first in the field of literary adaptations, author-columnist Anish Trivedi has written a…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan joins hands with Indian TV channel to host Indian version of “Got Talent”

IANS Mumbai – Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has joined hands with Hindi general entertainment channel Colors for his return to the small screen. He will…
Continue Reading »