'I feel accomplished': Sheshatshiu wrestler brings home gold from England

Josh Dyke won gold for his weight class last weekend at the British Juniors wrestling championships in Peterborough, England.
18-year-old Josh Dyke from Sheshatshiu shows off his gold medal from the 2018 British Juniors wrestling championships. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

The community of Sheshatshiu is celebrating a big win after 18-year-old wrestler Josh Dyke took gold at an international tournament in England last weekend.

"I feel accomplished," Dyke told the CBC. "I trained so hard just to get it."

Dyke won bronze at last year's North American Indigenous Games in Toronto. This time around he won his weight class at the 2018 British Juniors wrestling championships, held in Peterborough, England.

"I've got to say, it was tough," Dyke said.

Josh Dyke grapples with an opponent at the British Juniors wrestling championship. (Peter Petipas/Facebook)

Though he ended up being the only wrestler in his category due to others having to drop out due to injury and other reasons, he decided he didn't just want to win by default.

Dyke offered to take on competitors in other weight classes as an exhibition, and beat out the top competitor in a different class — a test he considered to be his gold medal match.

"As soon as I won, I just couldn't stop crying," he said.

Dyke worked hard training and dieting leading up to the match. Coach Peter Petipas says Dyke shed about 15 pounds in the last month.

When I went to compete I felt everybody's spirit or energy and I felt I could do it.- Josh Dyke

"Josh was already pretty underweight for his weight class," Petipas said.

"[He was] just training his butt off so much he just literally melted the weight off."

Dyke also gives a lot of credit to mixed martial arts fighter Collin Baikie, from North West River, who had been coaching him leading up to the tournament.

"He was the one who told me to train really hard and he was teaching me a little bit of technique," Dyke said.

"I just couldn't have done it without him."

Hero's welcome

Dyke got a warm welcome as he returned home to the Goose Bay airport terminal Tuesday afternoon. It was packed with cheering family and friends. 

"Very proud of him," Josh's father Kyle Sillitt said. 

"He's doing very good for his age ... He just likes to do stuff that he puts his mind to."

A crowd of family and friends were on hand to give Josh Dyke a hero's welcome at Goose Bay airport Tuesday afternoon (Jacob Barker/CBC)

He was handed a large bouquet of balloons and people had their pictures taken with him. 

"Amazing," Dyke said of the greeting.

"I know when I went to compete I felt everybody's spirit or energy and I felt I could do it."

Sheshatshiu Chief Eugene Hart who was also on hand to greet Dyke at the airport, and said the community is planning a big feast in the next couple of days in his honour.

"I think he came a long way from all of his training to get where he's at," Hart said. 

About the Author

Jacob Barker

Videojournalist

Jacob Barker reports on Labrador for CBC News from Happy Valley-Goose Bay.