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“Being average isn’t good enough to me if I want to reach my goal.”
Karan Patel, wrestler, Woburn Collegiate
By David Grossman
Karan Patel is the kind of individual who refuses to back away from a challenge.
Whether it’s top grades in school or sports, challenges are what motivate him.
In the classroom, the 16-year old student at Toronto’s Woburn Collegiate has achieved nothing short of excellence. That’s been an annual feat for him, a whiz at his grades since elementary school.
On the wrestling mat, Patel is in a category that makes him a nightmare for opponents.
Taking up a challenge to try the sport in grade 9, all he did was win all but one match in 38 kilos competitions – which included the Toronto District School Board regional and city championships.
As if that wasn’t enough, Patel went on to claim top spot on the winners’ podium with a gold medal performance at the Ontario (OFSAA) high school finals.
Not bad for a rookie.
A year later, and confronted with tougher challenges, Patel hasn’t sat back. He’s worked extra hard to put together an unblemished record.
“It’s not something that just happens,” said Patel, who was born in India and came to Canada in 2008 with his family. “You just don’t show up and win. “Confidence is important. You have to believe in yourself, but you also have to put in the training to get better. Being negative and nervous can only pull you down.”
At the 2020 Toronto Secondary Schools Athletic Association finals, Patel, who has been mostly successful on points over victory by pins, breezed through the 41 kilos. Patel defeated school buddy Sujal Patel (no relation), and then was victorious over Newtonbrook’s John Glomar for the gold medal. In both matches, the score was 10-0.
Woburn teacher and head coach Todd Idenouye, a former wrestler in his teen years, said Patel – with two more years until graduation – is already the best wrestler on the school team.
“I remember when he came by to sign up, I had never seen him before and realized he was new to the school,” said Idenouye. “I watched him in practice and he had potential, just wanted to keep learning how to get better and exceeded all expectations.
“He’s a good student, is very coachable and has been to all practices. (Patel) may not look like it, but he is strong and determined. You look at him and wish there more.”
Patel is climbing the success ladder having won the 2020 Provincial Cadet final for wrestlers in the 14/15-year old category and he will compete at the Ontario Winter Games in Barrie. Patel also has expectations of adding to his medal collection at the Ontario high school finals in Sault Ste. Marie.
Tenacious and aggressive, how he likes to describe himself, Patel is a fast learner and takes to the competitive mat for each four-minute match, hoping to be that much better after it’s over.
“I am always learning and have to find ways to be better,” he said. “Being average isn’t good enough to me if I want to reach my goal.”
That goal, for Patel, is to win a National championship as a teenager.
David Grossman is a veteran award-winning Journalist, Broadcaster with some of Canada’s major media, including the Toronto Star and SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN, and a Public Relations professional for 40+ years in Canadian sports and Government relations.