Richmond wrestler Arjan Bhullar returned home this week after taking the next step to fulfilling his childhood dream.
Eleven countries competed in the Pan American Olympic qualifiers in Florida, only the top two in each weight class qualified. Bhullar secured his Olympic spot after a semi-final victory over a Venezuelan.
The final match up meant nothing but would settle who was best at this international event. Bhullar still beat Jesse Ruiz of Mexico, capping another memorable competition in his outstanding career.
"The top two wrestlers in each weight class qualified for the Games, so my final match was not necessary to win," said Bhullar.
"However, I have never been satisfied with being second best and attacked my opponent with the same intensity. This match was more for pride and bragging rights."
Bhullar will take the next few weeks off from training before embarking on the busy road to the Summer Games. There will be camps, tournaments, and more international meets to help him get tuned for the big London showdown.
The Olympic dream began with his father Avtar S. Bhullar who had wrestled in international events but fell short of making it to the Olympics. The younger Bhullar grew up around the mats watching his father train and carried the family dream to the next level. This summer, family and friends will travel to London to cheer on their favorite athlete after 25 years of hard work and family's sacrifices finally brought satisfaction.
Bhullar credits his teammates and sparring partners on the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club and SFU wrestling teams for his latest victory.
"Dave McKay and Justin Abdou prepared me for such a high pressure situation. This feeling is incomparable - that's why I compete," he said. "I live for high pressure moments like that."
Bhullar feels honored for this opportunity to have represented the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club, Team Canada and the Indo Canadian community that has flooded congratulatory wishes since his qualification.
"I'm not just being a participant," he added. "I am going to take aim at the top of that podium and bring back that gold medal."
Bhullar's road to the Olympics is being shot as part of a documentary by an independent filmmaker called Journey to the Olympics.
No doubt, an Olympic medal victory will be the final climax for the 25-yearold who has yet to reach his prime in wrestling.
© Copyright 2013