Abbotsford’s Nishan Randhawa won wrestling gold at the Commonwealth Games in England. (Bradley Collyer/PA via AP)

Abbotsford’s Nishan Randhawa won wrestling gold at the Commonwealth Games in England. (Bradley Collyer/PA via AP)

Abbotsford’s Nishan Randhawa wins wrestling gold at Commonwealth Games

W.J. Mouat grad wins 97 kilograms division, Jasmit Singh Phulka earns bronze in 74 kg

Abbotsford’s Nishan Randhawa is a Commonwealth Games gold medallist after dominating the men’s 97 kilograms freestyle wrestling competition on Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Birmingham 2022 Games.

Randhawa opened with an 8-6 win over India’s Deepak Nehra in the quarterfinal round and then blanked Pakistan’s Tayab Raza 7-0 in the semifinal match.

He moved onto the gold-medal match against South Africa’s Nicolaas De Lange, who took an early 2-0 lead but Randhawa quickly made it 2-1 and then scored a takedown at the buzzer to go up 3-2 at the break. He jumped ahead 5-3, then 7-3 and applied a gutwrench to eventually earn the 9-3 win and the gold medal.

“This feels amazing,” he told media following the win. “It has been a long road. I had a couple injuries along the way but finished off strong and I hope to keep this momentum into the World Championships in Serbia, where I will give it my all and try to win another medal for my country,”

Randhawa said he suffered some minor injuries in his first match against Nehra but managed to push through.

The W. J. Mouat grad formerly competed at Simon Fraser University but now competes with the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club. In 2016, Randhawa became the first wrestler to win Canadian junior and senior national wrestling titles in the same year.

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Nishan Randhawa named to Canadian wrestling team for Commonwealth Games

Abbotsford wrestler Jasmit Singh Phulka also did Abbotsford proud, earning a bronze medal in the men’s 74 kg division on Saturday.

He kicked off the competition with a 7-5 win over Scotland’s Nicolae Cojocaru, but then fell 5-1 to Pakistan’s Muhammed Sharif Tahir in the quarterfinal. However, Phulka battled back with a big 11-0 win over Tonga’s John Vake in a repechage match to advance to the bronze bout.

Phulka squared off against New Zealand’s Cole Hawkins for bronze and scored the 11-1 win.

“I thought my performance was great today, but I was just grateful for the opportunity and was taking it in,” he stated after the win. “Two weeks ago, I met with (former Olympic wrestler) Matt Gentry, who told me, ‘There is no need to have pressure; you can’t do this your whole life, so enjoy it and have fun.’

“Since I have taken that philosophy, I have started to look towards the 2026 Commonwealth Games. I am 28 years old, but I feel I have a lot left in me because I love what I do and want these moments to last forever.”

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Phulka chasing Olympic dream

Abbotsford’s Nakisa Levale competed at the Games as part of the women’s rugby 7s team, but Canada fell just short of the podium after losing 19-12 to New Zealand in the bronze-medal game on July 31.

Canada previously lost 45-7 to New Zealand and beat England 26-19 on July 29. The team went on to destroy Sri Lanka 74-0 but then fell 24-7 to Fiji on July 30.

RELATED: Pair of Abbotsford rugby talents named to Commonwealth Games squads

Abbotsford’s Jake Thiel and the men’s rugby 7s team also failed to earn a medal. They opened with a 31-0 win over Wales but then lost 19-12 to Fiji on July 29. Canada then defeated Zambia 24-12 and lost to South Africa 33-0 on July 30. Canada closed the event with a 19-17 loss to Samoa.

Abbotsford’s Manveer Jhamat and the men’s field hockey team placed eighth at the Games. The results included: 5-1 loss to Wales (July 30), 1-1 draw with Ghana (Aug. 1), 8-0 loss to India (Aug. 3), 11-2 loss to England (Aug. 4) and 4-3 loss to Pakistan on Aug. 6.

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Manveer Jhamat hoping to represent Canada at World Cup

Canada finished third overall in the medal standings at the Games, collecting 26 gold, 32 silver and 34 bronze for a total of 92. Australia finished first with 178 and England placed second at 176.

For more on the event, visit birmingham2022.com.

abbotsfordBreaking NewsCommonwealth GamesWrestling

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