Friday, July 3, 2020

Meet Wrestling Superstar Jasmit Phulka

BY HARJAN PADDA, 29 Jan, 2020

    Phulka’s recent win earned him a spot at the Olympic qualifiers in March where he could compete for the chance to wrestle in the Olympics for Team Canada.

    Jasmit Phulka won the 74-kg title at the Canadian Wrestling Trials this past December. This win earned him a spot at the Olympic qualifiers in March where he could compete for the chance to wrestle in the Olympics for Team Canada. Phulka started wrestling at the age of 10 after his older brother joined it. He is a 3rd generation athlete as his grandfather was a kabaddi player and his dad also played kabaddi and was a powerlifter. The athletic genes have run in his family for generations so it is no surprise to see Phulka establish himself as an elite athlete taking it to the next level.

    In Grade 6, Phulka took his wrestling dreams to the next level and trained every single day for two years before he could qualify for provincials. “I focused on getting better and stronger, I would do 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups daily. I set my mind to this and am still pushing forward in my training to this day.” One of the key elements of Phulka as a fighter is his thorough training regimen which started at a young age and continues to drive him.

    His dad’s work ethic has had a profound effect on Phulka as he strives to replicate this in his career. “My dad would always take me and my brother to practice. After matches he would give us advice to get better on top of our coaching which really kept us close and helped improve our performance,” shares Phulka. The support from his family has been instrumental in building his career.

    Many wrestling experts contend that the 74-kg weight class is the hardest to compete in. Phulka became the first Indo-Canadian to win the middleweight division at the Trials. He makes sure to mention that he dedicated this win “to my family who sacrifices for me every day and it meant a lot to see the love and support from my community. With God I am unstoppable, without God I am nothing.” The win was a huge step for Phulka’s career but he remains humble after his glory.

    Phulka realizes that he is in uncharted territory as a middleweight Indo-Canadian wrestler on the cusp of representing Canada. He shows a lot of gratitude towards 2012 Olympian Arjan Bhullar, someone he looked up to and sought advice from as one of the first Indo-Canadian Olympians with an impressive and clean resume. He knows his role as a member of the Punjabi community and is “committed to being a role model for young athletes and inspiring future generations. It can really make a difference for kids to see people have success from similar backgrounds as them.”

    With tournaments and competitions year round, he stresses the importance of staying in shape and eating clean. Phulka takes a great deal of pride that his ascension completely stems from natural hard work. He never falters from “training the natural way with a clean system. I don’t care about the medals, I want to look back and know that I did this on my own as a clean fighter.”

    There are tournaments for Phulka in the first few months of the year but they could be seen as tune-ups before the March qualifiers. “That’s where we have to lay it all out on the line and execute. Those qualifiers are the only events that come in between me and the Olympics, I have to be at the top of my game” explains Phulka. The top two wrestlers from each weight class make it to the Olympics.

    When looking at long term goals, Phulka wants to keep training and wrestling through the 2028 Olympics as he attempts to earn the chance to represent Canada at the next three Olympics. He maintains that he wants to give back to the community and really pass forward the love and support he has received from his community as he progresses in his career.

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