At the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Melbourne, Australia last week, Sunny Dhinsa was the youngest grappler in his weight class.
But that mattered little to the precocious 18-year-old from Abbotsford, who won a pair of medals in the heavyweight (120 kg) division at the prestigious international event – gold in the freestyle, and bronze in the Greco-Roman discipline.
Dhinsa went 4-0 in the freestyle tournament, capped by a two-round victory (1-0, 1-0) over Naveen Mor of India.
“I was the youngest guy going into it, and I was hoping to medal, but I won,” enthused Dhinsa, who recently graduated from W.J. Mouat Secondary. “It felt good, beating one of the top guys from India and bringing the gold medal back home.”
It’s been a busy couple of months for Dhinsa, who finished 11th at Junior Worlds in Romania last month. He’s taking some well-earned time off now, before heading to Simon Fraser University in September. He’ll compete with the Clan wrestling team, while studying criminology.
The next big event on Dhinsa’s wrestling calendar is the Olympic trials in December. He’s the second-ranked heavyweight in Canada at the moment, having finished second to veteran Arjan Bhullar at the Canadian senior championships in March.
As the Canadian champ, Bhullar has been tasked with securing Canada an Olympic berth in the 120 kg weight class at the World Championships in Turkey in September. Should the Richmond native succeed in that task, Dhinsa would battle him for the right to represent Canada at the 2012 London Games.
“I’ve got to wrestle smart, I guess,” Dhinsa said, looking ahead to a potential match-up with Bhullar. “He’s got more experience, but I’m young. It should be good.”
Abbotsford’s Gurjot Kooner and Harry Purewal also competed at the Commonwealth Championships. Kooner finished fifth in the 120 kg class, winning two of four freestyle matches, while Purewal did not place after going 1-3 in the 84 kg division.