BRAMPTON -- At just 20 years old, Ekjot Swagh was living his dream.
In just a few short years he had already become a world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and had received an invitation to train with two of the best known coaches in his sport, the Mendes Brothers in San Diego, California, at one of the world's top training centres, leaving his Brampton home last fall to pursue a professional career.
However, a rare arterial disease, Atherosclerosin, claimed the life of the promising athlete last weekend while he was sleeping.
"The doctor said it was a one in a million case," said his cousin Paul Sidhu.
Ekjot was the only child of his parents, father Jagmeet Singh Swagh and mother Parmjit Kaur Swagh. Sidhu said though Ekjot's parents at first wanted him to continue his education, they agreed to let him pursue a pro career in the sport he loved so much.
"He bjj training in mississauga was passionate, dedicated and determined," said Sidhu. He also had a lot of talent. He was on the wrestling team at Heart Lake Secondary School but always had an interest in Mixed Martial Arts.
In October 2010 he joined the DoggPound Mixed Martial Arts Club in Brampton. One month later he entered his first tournament, winning a silver medal.
In 2012, he claimed three gold medals at the Toronto Ascension tournament, making him a world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. To win his world title he had to beat more experienced and older competitors who had already earned their black belts.
He attracted the attention of Rafael and Guilherme Mendes, world champions in BJJ who invited him to train in California at the ATOS gym in San Diego where UFC legend Anderson Silva trains. The club's Facebook page posted a tribute to Swagh.
"Ekjot was a nose to the grindstone grappler, not interested in shortcuts or tricks, only the best techniques and methods. Yet Ekjot's bjj training in mississauga humility and humble spirit always prevailed," the posting said.
Last October at the Canada National Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship in Montreal, Swagh finished third in the blue belt adult male absolute heavyweight division.
Sidhu said he had won a number of medals while competing in California. At his most recent tournament he won a silver medal as a blue belt competing against black belts.
But while he showed great skill he also loved the camaraderie in the sport. Sidhu said there is a video on You Tube of him after winning a fight making sure his opponent was all right before celebrating.
A funeral will be held on Saturday (Jan. 31) at Brampton Crematorium and Visitation Centre, 30 Bramwin Crt. from 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Prayers will be held following the funeral at Ontario Khalsa Darbar (Dixie Gurdwara) at 7080 Dixie Rd., Mississauga, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Those attending must have their head covered by a scarf or bandana at the funeral home and Gurdwara and shoes must be removed. A candlelight vigil will be held at Heart Lake Secondary School, 296 Conestoga Drive from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Candles will be provided for those who don't bring their own.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.