North Delta teen Gursher Sangha is heading to Ontario for the 2017 Cadet and Juvenile Canadian Wrestling Championships.
The Grade 12 North Delta Secondary student earned gold in the provincial championships earlier this month, using his technical skill to make his way to the top of the 78kg division.
At provincials, Sangha won all of his games by tech. In wrestling, each move earns the competitors points, and as soon as they gets 10 points ahead of their opponent, they win by tech.
Of course, one can also win by pinning one’s opponent to the ground, but that doesn’t seem to be Sangha’s style. In the gold medal match, he beat Lucas Kolobara of Maple Ridge 12-2.
That skill didn’t come from nowhere. Sangha, who practices six days a week at Olympia Wrestling Club in Newton, has been wrestling since his dad first introduced him to the sport in Grade 8.
It wasn’t always easy: Sangha’s first tournament was in the summer of 2013, and he lost.
“I didn’t really expect to lose – I thought I was going to win,” he said. “But it was only my third or fourth month wrestling, and as I got more [experience] I started getting better.”
He’s a self-described aggressive wrestler who usually attacks first, and by Grade 10, he was winning most of his matches.
“After I won my first match, I wanted to win more and more after that.”
This year Sangha’s been on a winning streak, taking gold at the Fraser Valley Championships and qualifying for provincials.
As Sangha discovered last year, not making it through the Fraser Valley Championships may bar you from competing at provincials, but it doesn’t disqualify you from the national championship.
He didn’t do that well at last year’s nationals. He won his first match, but then lost the second, knocking him out of the tournament.
“Most people don’t [go to nationals] because they know they’re not going to win,” he said.
This year, having won two gold medals already, Sangha is cautiously optimistic about his chances.
“I’m trying to come…in the top five,” he said. “That’s [out of ] pretty much all of Canada, so I’d be happy to place there.”
Although North Delta Secondary has a wrestling program, Sangha isn’t part of it. However, he does think programs like the one at NDSS need to be bolstered by funding so the next generation of wrestlers can make its mark on the sport.
“People try to make fun of it sometimes,” Sangha said, noting that many people focus on the popular World Wrestling Entertainment franchise. “But I’m hoping in the coming years there’s more wrestlers, and then the sport at school can be supported as well.”