Abbotsford wrestlers climb national podium

Local wrestlers excelled at the Canadian junior and senior wrestling championships, held in Edmonton last weekend.

Four athletes with Abbotsford connections climbed the podium, while five others notched top-six placings.

Jaskarn Ranu, a Surrey native who is a member of the University of the Fraser Valley wrestling club, won gold in the junior men’s 74 kilogram division. He’s qualified to represent Canada during the upcoming international season, and his accomplishment at nationals is a nice momentum boost for a Cascades program which is moving from club status to become a full-fledged Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) squad for the 2014-15 season.

Yale Secondary grad Zandri Botha won silver in the 67 kg junior women’s division and added a sixth-place result at the senior level, while current W.J. Mouat student Nishan Randhawa – coming off his second straight B.C. high school title earlier this month – took silver in the 84 kg junior men’s draw.

Former Rick Hansen Hurricanes star Gurjot Kooner was the lone Abbotsford medalist in the senior competition, winning bronze at 125 kg.

Strong performances were also turned in by Austin Batra (fourth in 96 kg junior men freestyle, fifth in 96 kg Greco-Roman), Matt Dignan (fourth, 55 kg junior men), Brendan Sepalla (fifth, 60 kg junior men), Joban Phulka (fifth, 84 kg junior men) and Niki Brar (sixth, 53 kg senior women).

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