With Olympic qualifier drawing near, wrestler Dhinsa is on a roll

Sunny Dhinsa, the 18-year-old wrestling phenom from Abbotsford, is heating up in his quest to earn a trip to the Summer Olympics in London.

Sunny Dhinsa, the 18-year-old wrestling phenom from Abbotsford, is heating up in his quest to earn a trip to the Summer Olympics in London.

Dhinsa won a pair of medals at the recent Senior Pan Am Championships in Colorado Springs, taking silver in the freestyle and bronze in Greco-Roman in the heavyweight (120 kg) division.

The freestyle finish was particularly impressive. Canada’s top-ranked heavyweight freestyle grappler, Arjan Bhullar of Richmond, was injured, so Dhinsa stepped in and beat Disney Rodriguez of Cuba – the fifth-place finisher at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – en route to second place.

“It’s one of my career highlights, beating him,” said Dhinsa, a Mouat Secondary grad who now studies at Simon Fraser University.

Dhinsa is already qualified for the Canadian Olympic wrestling team in Greco-Roman by virtue of his victory at the Canadian championships in December.

But he needs a top-two finish at the Pan American Olympic qualifying meet, to be held March 23-25 in Orlando, Fla., to confirm his ticket to London.

“Everything’s feeling good,” he said. “My technique is getting better, and my conditioning is good. Everything seems to be falling into place, and hopefully I can qualify.”