Surrey’s Parm Singh Athwal, an electrician by trade, is The Thunder from Jalandhar during All Star Wrestling matches, including one at Cloverdale Fairgrounds on Saturday, Aug. 25. (Photo: facebook.com/aswjalandhar)

Surrey wrestler feeds homeless with money earned in ring

As the turban-adorned ‘Thunder from Jalandhar,’ Parm Singh Athwal returns to Cloverdale on Aug. 25

It’s not every day that an electrician in his mid-30s decides to enter the ring as a first-time wrestler.

But that’s exactly what Parm Singh Athwal did three years ago, and he’s become a highlight of the All Star Wrestling shows staged in Cloverdale and elsewhere in Metro Vancouver.

As “The Thunder from Jalandhar,” Athwal dons a turban and traditional Indian garb before making his entrance, with lights flashing and crowds reacting.

Fellow Surrey-area resident Mark Vellios, who runs the wrestling organization, asked Athwal if he’d get dressed that way, and Athwal, now 38, made his All Star Wrestling debut three years ago in Abbotsford — on Sept. 22, 2016, to be exact.

“I figured it’s the right place to do it, and it couldn’t have been better,” said Atwal, who lives in the Cedar Hills neighbourhood.

“I was very nervous at first, the first time, and when I came out the crowd loved it,” added the Edmonton-born grappler, who has also lived in Vancouver. “The first day it took off right away, and even the wrestlers in the back, when I had all my gear on, all the traditional (Indian) clothing, they said, ‘Wow, you look great.’ And the minute I went out, I got a big cheer. That usually does not happen very often on the first night like that.”

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO, from 2017)

At the Alice Mckay building in Cloverdale, Atwal made his wrestling debut a couple of months later, with a similar reaction.

“It was amazing,” he recalled. “I still have video of it and the crowd goes wild again. I think we knew that day that we had something there.”

He’ll return to the arena at Cloverdale Fairgrounds on Saturday, Aug. 25, this time as part of a “Summer Heatwave III” show that features several Girls Gone Wrestling matches. That night, The Thunder from Jalandhar and Odin Rex, as the Allied Powers, will take on Team USA in a “Tag-Team Warfare” main event.

Athwal is currently a tag-team champ with the family-friendly All Star Wrestling, and also holds the circuit’s Trans Canada heavyweight belt, after beating rival Azeem the Dream in a match last December.

• RELATED STORY: GALLERY: Family-friendly All Star Wrestling turns 10, from 2017.

Athwal, who runs Athwal Bros. Electric., and frequently promotes wrestling shows on its Twitter feed, said he gives all of his earnings to the homeless.

“The money I get, I donate to, you know, homeless people,” he said. “I’ll go out and buy them food — in Vancouver, Surrey, where they have the tents set up in Maple Ridge, depending on where I am, and those are the places I know. So when I’m there I’ll grab whatever I can — coffee, doughnuts, pizzas, burgers, and hand them out.

“The reason why I do this, from the beginning, is because I’m very fortunate to have good health, be able to do what I’m doing, you know,” he added. “People take things for granted and forget about the other ones. I was raised that way, to always help people out.”

Unlike some other local wrestlers, Athwal keeps everything local.

“A lot of guys travel down to the States and into the Interior to wrestle, or the Island, and get out there more, but for me it’s strictly All Star Wrestling, just because I have to focus on work at the same time,” said Athwal. “It’s a hobby for me, and always will be.”

Asked about the demands of being in a wrestling ring for a guy his age, Athwal said it doesn’t matter to him.

“I got into wrestling a bit late, just three years ago, but I eat really well and train every day, and I keep in shape and it really helps me,” he replied. “Age to me is just a number so far, and my body’s responding really well. Even with work, it’s really physical and demanding mentally and physically, and I’m doing fine.”

• RELATED STORY: Cloverdale’s Bambi Hall weighs in on women in the world of wrestling, from March 2018.

Vellios, best known as the boa-adorned Gorgeous Michelle Starr, helped train Athwal as a wrestler.

“Parm is the hardest working champion we have ever had,” Vellios told the Now-Leader. “He goes out of his way to get involved with the community. He let’s fans all over take pictures with a him and the championship belt. He is a very honorable and respected champion and is proud of his Indo-Canadian heritage.”

For more details about “Summer Heatwave III,” including tickets, visit allstar-wrestling.com, or call 604-710-0872.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Findlay to be next CPC candidate for South Surrey-White Rock

Former cabinet minister lost 2017 election to Liberal Gordie Hogg

Teenage girl, 17, accused of stabbing girl, 16, in Surrey

Victim’s injuries not life-threatening

Fledgling Surrey City Orchestra tunes up for showcase concert Friday

Conductor Stuart Martin’s four-year goal is to build a core group of about 60 Surrey-based musicians

Fraser Health to buy two private MRI clinics in Surrey, Abbotsford

New clinics will provide 2,000 more MRIs by fiscal year-end

Safe Surrey Coalition opposes removing any property from ALR

McCallum and Pettigrew take issue with a Port Kells proposal to exclude property from the Agricultural Land Reserve

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye salmon

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Most Read