Abbotsford wrestler Dhinsa on the cusp of Olympics

At the tender age of 18, Abbotsford's Sunny Dhinsa is just one step away from clinching a berth to next summer's Olympic Games.

After winning the Greco-Roman 120 kg event at the Canadian Olympic qualifying meet on Sunday

At the tender age of 18, Abbotsford wrestling phenom Sunny Dhinsa is just one step away from clinching a berth to next summer’s Olympic Games in London, England.

Dhinsa turned in a stellar performance at the Canadian Olympic qualification event in Winnipeg last weekend – he finished second in the heavyweight (120 kg) freestyle on Saturday before bouncing back with a first-place result in the Greco-Roman discipline on Sunday.

The Greco-Roman victory gives Dhinsa the right to try to qualify for the Olympics on behalf of Canada. He needs a top-two finish at the Pan American Olympic qualifying meet, to be held March 23-25 in Orlando, Fla., to punch his ticket to London.

The funny thing is, heading into the Canadian trials, Dhinsa’s focus was on the freestyle event. He was a definite underdog heading into that final, facing Arjan Bhullar of Richmond, a five-time national heavyweight champ who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Bhullar won the first round, but Dhinsa won the second, forcing a third and deciding round. But the more experienced wrestler pulled out the victory.

“It was just a slight error on my part that cost me that match,” Dhinsa analyzed.

At that point, as Dhinsa puts it, he had to “settle for Greco” – a discipline which forbids holds below the waist. He made the most of his second chance, beating Ottawa’s Devon Nicholson to qualify.

“It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for – I was just a point away from making the freestyle team,” Dhinsa noted. “But either way, I’m on the team.

“Greco is just something I picked up along the way, but I’m getting pretty good at it. I’ll just work at it a little more, and hopefully qualify at the weight and make the Olympics.”

Dhinsa’s performance at the Canadian Olympic trials is all the more impressive considering it came in the midst of his first crack at university-level final exams. The W.J. Mouat Secondary class of 2011 grad is just wrapping up his first semester at Simon Fraser University.

“The teachers were pretty cool about everything,” Dhinsa said with a chuckle, noting that he had to reschedule several of his exams in order to participate at the Olympic meet. “Qualifying for your country for the Olympics is a big thing, so they were pretty supportive.”

Dhinsa is optimistic about his chances at the Pan Am qualifier – he finished second at the Pan Am Games in October, albeit in freestyle.

“Greco shouldn’t be that bad,” he said. “I think I have a pretty good chance.”

One might expect Dhinsa, given his youth, to be wide-eyed at his accomplishments. But the unflappable youngster isn’t fazed in the least.

“I train hard, and when you put in work, you’re going to get something out of it,” he reasoned.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Abbotsford Hospice Society holds community scavenger hunt

Road to Gratitude event takes place on Sunday, July 19 by the carload

New book celebrates people and events that shaped Abbotsford

Pre-sales launched for Abbotsford – A Diverse Tapestry, to be released in fall

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Fraser Valley

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read