Richmond's Arjan Singh Bhullar has been selected to represent Canada at the World Cup of Wrestling and is heading to Dubai this week.
"I haven't been out that way since 2010, when we had a pre-Commonwealth Games training camp in Abu Dhabi," said Bhullar, the 2010 Commonwealth Games champion.
"That place is absolutely unbelievable. It's crazy to see what they were able to create in the middle of nothing (desert)!
"The last trip was a lot of fun, from seeing the man-made attractions - tallest building in the world, man-made island, that world famous hotel with outrageous prices, etc. - to riding camels and feasting as a team in the desert, to drifting down the side of a mountain of sand."
Federal Minister Tim Uppal dropped by the Bhullar Gym last week to wish Bhullar and Team Canada the best luck at Worlds.
"We first met on the trip to India with Prime Minister Harper," said Bhullar. "Tim was busy with his engagements in Vancouver but took time to meet and he promised to bring his workout gear next time."
Uppal is a big fan of wrestling along with Kabaddi in which he was a competitor.
When Bhullar hasn't been at the gym getting ready for international competitions, he has been reaching out to local youth through volunteer work.
One of his stops was McNeely elementary school.
"I've been trying to get out to the schools and connect with the future generation of kids as much as possible," he said.
"Going to McNeely was a lot of fun. It's a school that's close to home and was attended by some of the family many years ago.
"Doing presentations for the kids is so energizing! The day was full of nothing but positive energy."
There are more school visits planned when he returns.
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