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Dhesi battles to loss in Olympic debut

August 05, 2021

TOKYO – Amar Dhesi couldn’t overcome the reigning Olympic Champion in his Olympic debut.

Dhesi, from Surrey, B.C., drew Taha Akgul of Turkey in the 125 kg qualifying round. Akgul was the Rio 2016 Olympic Champion, as well as 2015 and 2014 World Champion.

Akgul got ahead 5-0 in the first half, and Dhesi was unable to battle back. The match ended 5-0 for Akgul.

“Overall, I felt okay. It was a tough opponent. I thought my hand-fighting was good, I need to sturdy up my stance a bit, so I don’t get pushed around,” said Dhesi, 25.

Akgul went on to lose to Gable Steveson of USA in the quarterfinal, eliminating Dhesi from the tournament.

“It’s been a tough year, no excuses though. Wrestling is a tough sport. Sometimes you’re not proud of your loses, but overall you have to keep your head high. Everyone here is a good athlete. If I’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s to have fun with it.”

Dhesi qualified for the Tokyo Games after finishing second at the Pan-American Olympic Qualification Tournament in Ottawa in March of 2020.

“My goal is always to grow wrestling. I encourage wrestling, I love wrestling.”

Canada’s last wrestler to step on the mat in Tokyo will be Jordie Steen. Steen competes August 6 in the 97 kg qualifying round.