Meet the Interns: Martine Dugrenier, Wrestling, Canada

Meet the Interns

Name: Martine Dugrenier

“I decided on a coaching career to give back to the next generation, to help athletes achieve their dreams, and to help them achieve their potential in wrestling.”

Sport: Wrestling

Mentor Coach: Tonya Verbeek

Country: Canada

Games Responsibilities: Martine will be integrated into final team preparations at domestic training camps and will be involved in match planning and strategy. Mentorship will cover scouting and reporting on opponents, including video analysis. She will be integrated into post-match athlete debriefings, included as an on-mat coach during each event, and will be an active participant at all staff meetings.

Current Occupation: Coach, National Training Centre, Montreal, Canada; physical education teacher, Vanier College, Montreal

Athletic Background: Martine won world championships in 2008, 2009, and 2010 and was a three-time world silver medallist. She finished fifth at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. A competitive gymnast, in 2000 she decided to focus on wrestling and eight years later was an Olympian. Her inspiration was her club’s coaches and international-level athletes and the knowledge that she could achieve more in wrestling than in gymnastics. Also important was the calibre of the head coach. Other achievements include four senior national championships, a gold medal at 2004 World University Championships, 2005 Female Canadian Wrestler of the Year, and three-time Female Athlete of the Year at Concordia University. In 2016, she was inducted into United World Wrestling Hall of Fame

Coaching: When Martine decided to pursue coaching, she was guided by her coach, Victor Zilberman, national coach, Leigh Vierling, and by successful coaches from other sports. It is her ambition to coach athletes all the way to the Olympic Games. She uses a phone and IPad for video analysis and to connect on social media. As a woman coach, she has not faced any particular issues. “In 2017, I coached the Quebec men’s team at the Canada Games, where they won their first ever team medal. Everybody supported me on my journey.”  


National Coaching Certification Program, Level 3

United World Wrestling Coach Certification, June 2016

Advanced Coaching Diploma (beginning)

Health Sciences, Vanier College

Importance of the WCIP“It is an honour to have been selected. I want to enjoy the experience as much as I can ... this is an awesome opportunity to learn from experienced coaches. Mentoring programs are great to guide me in the right direction.”

After Gold Coast: Martine plans to continue to coach at the national training centre in Montreal and to help athletes at the provincial, national, and international levels continue their journey. “It would be great if my WCIP experience can help and benefit other women coaches.” She will begin work in her Advanced Coaching Diploma at the National Coaching Institute-Quebec, will be involved in national team domestic camps, and will be given priority for international camp immersion opportunities.

Commonwealth Connections“The Modern Commonwealth allows member nations to stay stronger together. The Commonwealth Sport Movement brings people together to compete in a great environment. It also gives the opportunity for some countries to shine at the international level … It is a great honour to be part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games as a coach. It is another step towards my dream of coaching at the Olympic Games.”


Meet the Mentors

Name: Tonya Verbeek

“… help create and implement a positive learning experience for Martine through her coaching interactions …”

Sport: Wrestling

Country: Canada

Current Occupation: International Coach, Wrestling Canada

Athletic History: Tonya competed in wrestling for 20 years and was on the national team for 17 years. She competed at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic Games and won two silvers and one bronze medal in the 55kg weight class. Canada’s most decorated wrestler, she also competed at eight world championships and three Pan American Games.

Coaching History: Prior to her retirement as an athlete in 2013, she coached for six years, assisting the women’s program at Brock University. As a teacher, she has always been intrigued by coaching and knew she wanted to give back to her sport and share her passion with other athletes when she retired. For three years, she was the Talent ID coach for Wrestling Canada working with 14- to 20-year-old athletes. Now in her second years as International Coach, she supports High Performance Director Leigh Vierling in the areas of technical leadership, international performance standards, and high performance coach support across Canada’s high performance programme. In consultation with Leigh, she acts as Head Coach at international events and helps to plan, oversee, and lead international and domestic training camps for the junior and senior teams.


Master’s degree in Education, Brock University

National Coaching Certification Program Level 3 coach

Advanced Coaching Diploma with National Coaching Institute-Ontario (ongoing)

Importance of the WCIP: Tonya became involved with the WCIP to assist in providing quality opportunities to women coaches; to learn from the experience and share with others; and to help develop wrestling and female coaching in Canada. She expects Martine to have an overall positive learning experience with the athletes, coaches, and staff; to engage with coaches from different sports; and bring home great memories and coachable moments. She considers her role as mentor to “help create and implement a positive learning experience for Martine through her coaching interactions …” One barrier in Canada is the small number of female wrestling coaches and few full-time positions. She notes that women coaching men is not typical and, although Canada is ahead in this area, more exposure and inclusion are required as is acceptance by male coaches.

Commonwealth Connections: “The Commonwealth Sport Movement is a celebration of sport and competition amongst the Commonwealth countries. I am blessed to have the opportunity to coach at Gold Coast after competing at the 2010 Games. I am privileged to work alongside inspiring athletes and experienced coaches and look forward to representing our country with respect, dignity, and pride.”