UFV Wrestling Hosts Indian National Team Coaches

By September 22, 2014Sports, Sports News

By .  UFV Wrestling coaches Arjan Bhullar and Raj Virdi have spent the last year building a CIS team from the ground up at a university that has never before had a wrestling program. For most coaches that would be enough of a challenge, but Bhullar and Virdi are men of significant vision. Their goal is not only to find success at the highest level of international competition in Canada, but also to build positive connections with high calibre athletes and coaches in India, where wrestling is considered by many to be the national sport.

As part of this vision, UFV Wrestling is welcoming Indian national team coach P.R. Sondhi to the Abbotsford campus on Tuesday, September 23. Coach Sondhi will be sitting in on the wrestling team’s training session from 3:30 to 5:30, before visiting the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies (CICS) for a presentation from director Satwinder Bains.

Bhullar, Virdi, and Sondhi are searching for ways to create better ties between the Indo-Canadian wrestling community in the Fraser Valley, and the wrestling community in the Punjab and the rest of India. It has long been a dream of the UFV coaches to lead a team of young Indo-Canadian wrestlers back to India for a series of exhibition matches, and possibly host a group of elite Indian wrestlers in Abbotsford.

“Raj and I are excited to welcome Coach Sondhi onto the campus,” said Bhullar. “This is a great opportunity for our institution to build upon the connections already created by Satwinder Bains and the CICS, using the sport of wrestling. Coach Sondhi’s resumé speaks for itself. He is a proven winner at every level.”

Bhullar and Virdi are also looking forward to showing off the strength of the UFV team roster, which is expected to be a strong competitor in the Canada West this season. “We are eager to showcase some of our student-athletes here in Abbotsford, as I believe we have the best in the country training within our facilities,” said Bhullar. “I would like to thank Satwinder Bains and the folks at the CICS for their fantastic work, and for hosting us for the evening.”

Shortly after Bhullar wrestled in the 2012 Olympic Games, he was invited by the Canadian federal government to participate in a trade mission to India as an Ambassador of Sport. The idea for a possible connection between the two countries based on a mutual passion for wrestling was born during that trip, and Bhullar has been pursuing it ever since. Upon his arrival at UFV in 2013, he was excited to see the foundation for such a connection already laid through the UFV Chandigarh campus and the mandate of the CICS. Coach Sondhi’s visit is a natural next step in bringing together the Indo-Canadian wrestling community of the Fraser Valley with the Indian wrestling community half a world away.

Coach Sondhi was the chief head coach of Team India from 1995-2011, and coached the 2008 Indian Olympic wrestling team to India’s first medal in the sport since 1952 (a bronze). He has also coached the national team at multiple Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and World Championships during his career.

Coach Sondhi graduated from Punjab University in Chandigarh, where today UFV has an affiliate satellite campus. He received his coaching diploma from the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, Punjab, and his Masters in Sport (Wrestling) from the German College of Physical Education in Leipzig, Germany.

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