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’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

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

Just Posted

Traffic was tied up at the intersection of Scott and Old Yale Roads in North Surrey on Tuesday afternoon, after a semi truck hauling a load of pipes flipped while making a turn. (Shane MacKichan photos)
VIDEO: Semi hauling load of pipes flips in North Surrey intersection

Traffic near Scott and Old Yale Roads tied up by Tuesday afternoon incident

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Tens of thousands of farmers descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Delta council stands in solidarity with protesting Indian farmers

Farmers have been protesting for months new laws they say leave them open to corporate exploitation

Shana Harris-Morris was killed Feb. 4. (GoFundMe photo)
IHIT says 22-year-old killed in Surrey shooting was ‘unintended victim’

Shana Harris’ family makes appeal for more information

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
Man charged after pushing pregnant woman to the ground in Surrey, police say

Surrey RCMP say it appeared to be an ‘unprovoked assault’

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read