If you play a sport, you understand the constant ups and downs – the training regime, the importance of health and nutrition and, sometimes, the overwhelming joy that comes with making history for your country.
For Khalsa Wrestling Club’s Amar Dhesi, he knows exactly what that feels like.
Dhesi initially made history by being the first-ever Canadian wrestler to earn a full-ride scholarship – valued at approximately US$250,000 – to Oregon State University, an NCAA Division 1 school.
“At the time, it felt really special,” he said of the historic moment.
“As a Canadian wrestler, it’s unheard of to earn a chance to wrestle in the American college system.”
He’s been attending OSU since 2012 and has been racking up multiple titles along the way.
Dhesi’s father, who wrestled in India and came to Canada to open Khalsa Wrestling Club (KWC), has been his biggest inspiration.
“I’ve been on the mats ever since I can remember,” Dhesi told the Now-Leader.
Growing up in Whalley, Dhesi strived to be the absolute best in wrestling, and since his decision to go to Oregon State, he’s done just that.
Not only has Dhesi been twice crowned NCAA All-American – only awarded to the top eight wrestlers in the U.S. – he’s won two Pac-12 Championships, as well.
To top it off, he took home a third-place bronze medal at the NCAA Division 1 National Championships held this month in Cleveland, Ohio. Given that the NCAA is known to be one of the biggest sports organizations in the world, a bronze medal is quite the accomplishment.
Kyle Snyder, a 2016 Olympic champion, won gold in the same event, in the 285-pound weight class.
For the second time in his wrestling career, Dhesi has again made history, this time by being the only Indo-Canadian to win a medal and also earn All-American status at the NCAA Division 1 Level.
He hopes to continue his winning streak at the 2020 Olympics, held in Tokyo, Japan.
“I was an Olympic alternate for Rio in 2016,” Dhesi said. “2020 is my year to bring back a medal.”
This coming July, Dhesi will be wrestling for a spot on the Canadian World Team at the Canada Cup Tournament held in Toronto.
He says it’s going to take consistency in training, mental preparation and wrestling in international tournaments, such as the Canada Cup, in order to be successful at the 2020 Olympics—assuming the star athlete gets the green light to go to Tokyo.
Dhesi credits his parents for giving him an incredible work ethic at a young age. He says he’s never been much of a vocal leader, but tries to lead by example for all those who are also pursuing a career in wrestling, or any sport for that matter.
“I’m another kid from Surrey who grew up in Whalley, and now I compete in front of thousands of fans,” Dhesi said.
“Prioritize your goals and work towards them. The sacrifice is worth it.”