A Kiwi Indian man with a passion for wrestling and martial arts has made the community proud by winning a gold medal at a national level Jiu-Jitsu tournament earlier last weekend.

Vikrant Pawaar training from Sorriso Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club represented India at the New Zealand Auckland Regional Grappling Tournament in the Medium Heavy (under 86.2 kgs & 30+ yrs.) division and won the gold medal. He was followed by Tyrone Hack from Oliver MMA Browns Bay representing New Zealand in the Australasia region.

“This was indeed a big win for me as a pro-wrestler and Grappler after years of practice and hard work,” Vikrant told the Indian Weekender.

Vikrant with his two medals at NZIFBB show in Palmerston North last year in November

32-year-old Vikrant, a personal trainer by profession, has come a long way meandering himself through self-doubts, injuries, losses to winning the big prize at his latest tournament held in Auckland.

Vikrant, earlier in November last year, won the silver medal in NZ National Grappling Tournament. He also competed at the New Zealand Federation of Body Building and Fitness (NZIFBB) Pro League and stood 5th in both the Open and Novice Men Physique category.

Vikrant moved to New Zealand from the northern state of Haryana, India as a student and worked at different jobs across New Zealand before choosing Fitness Trainer as his full time professional.

Vikrant with his silver medal NZ National Grappling Tournament 2020

“I have always wanted to become a wrestler; it was my childhood dream and passion growing up. I continuously participated in wrestling matches and tournaments, but I chose to come to New Zealand when I realised limited opportunities for learning back in India.

“Here, of course, besides pursuing studies and multiple jobs back ten years ago, I researched looking for pro-wrestling training schools and clubs.

“I kept learning, took time out to participate in competitions and did three pro-wrestling matches in Christchurch and Auckland,” Vikrant added.

Pro-wrestling training photo in Fale dojo

Vikrant broke his jaw in one of the competitions in April 2019 and was forced to take a break from wrestling and to participate in any tournaments.

“I suffered severe jaw dislocation, suffered concussions and had surgery as a result.

“Given my condition since I took a year and a half’s break, which was necessary for my body to recover from the grievous injury,” Vikrant added.

Vikrant with his gold medal at the NZ Nationals New Zeland Grappler

Vikrant did his pro-wrestling training at Fale Dojo in Otahuhu and was also the first graduate and only Kiwi-Indian to graduate from the special gym.

Vikrant currently works as a personal trainer at Tony Martin’s Gym, and once fit on his feet, Vikrant practised and participated in the NZ Grappling tournament and bagged a silver medal last November.

“It makes me feel privileged representing India on an international platform and tournament, winning the gold medal and making India proud,” Vikrant added.

Grappling Training

After winning his latest tournament, Vikrant has qualified to graduate from white to blue belt and aims to don the black belt someday.

“Graduating from one colour belt to another comes through sheer hard work, attending regular classes, passing exams, and of course getting top ranks in national level tournaments,” Vikrant said.

Vikrant aims to compete in the world championship someday and open a Jiu-Jitsu training school back in his hometown in Haryana, India.

“There is a lot of potential in our young athletes and martial arts enthusiasts back home, and someday, I would like to open a club or training school teaching mixed martial arts and Jiu-Jitsu to our community members there,” Vikrant added.