A Sidaway Road farm is providing a life-changing experience for the Medeiros family.
Tony Medeiros has just watched his eldest daughter conclude her wrestling career with a national title at the U17/U19 Canadian Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Two more daughters — ages eight and 10 — are potentially travelling the same path and it’s all thanks to the Bhullars.
The family-run club is now making a significant impact on the country’s largest stage, winning four medals, including two gold, at the this year’s championships.
Run by volunteer coaches — headed by former national champion Jag Bhullar — the club only charges insurance fees and runs the training sessions out of a small gym on the family property. It’s the same building where Jag and his cousin Arjan — now a UFC fighter — learned their trade. Now it’s bursting at the seams with inspiring young wrestlers.
“We have told Jag probably a 1,000 times it shouldn’t be this way. They are giving us club t-shirts that we aren’t even paying for. This family is incredible,” marvelled Tony.
“Jag has passion for this and so does his wife. Even Arjan finds the time with his training schedule. These guys are an entirely different level when it comes to giving back.”
For some time the Bhullars have been in communication with the city to find a bigger venue for training. The tricky part is the family wants to keep the sport extremely affordable.
“The foundation is in place and we need more space for the kids we have. That is the whole goal. We have gone from sending one kid to nationals to six this year and two of them returning home national champions,” said Jag. “It’s huge for the community to build this in Richmond.”
Toni Medeiros is putting her wrestling career behind her to focus on post-secondary education in September.
The Grade 12 Notre Dame student also won the B.C. High School Championship back in February. She still plans on helping out at Bhullar Wrestling as an instructor.
“It is so gratifying the way she has grown,” said Jag. “Not only through this year but years in the past too. It’s been amazing to see. I’m excited for her future behind wrestling.”
Marques Calapiz stepped up in weight class this season and battled his way back from an opening round loss to win bronze at high school provincials. His progress in the last couple months resulted in gold at nationals. His commitment and determination makes him the unofficial “captain” of his club.
“We are here training be better people and wrestlers. Just having people who support you through the whole journey, it definitely is why we came back with medals,” said Calapiz. “This is more than club. It’a s family.”
Tyler Leung returned from Fredericton with a bronze medal, highlighted by a one point win over the B.C. champion he had previously lost three times to.
“These last couple of months I have grown a lot,” smiled Leung. “I worked hard every practice and we did everything we could to become better.”
The club’s final medal was another bronze won by Jaren Bhullar — nephew of Jag and Arjan. He has made impressive progress while dealing with the family’s tremendous legacy in the sport.
“He is his hardest critic because he holds himself to a higher standard by comparing himself to myself and Arjan,” said Jag. “He is fulfilling the role and becoming his own man. He is not our nephew anymore.”