Meet the Interns: Mpho Madi, Wrestling, South Africa

Meet the Interns

Name: Mpho Madi

“Because of the WCIP, women in coaching will grow because whatever I learn I will share with my fellow women coaches in my country and Africa as a whole.”

Sport: Freestyle Wrestling

Mentor Coach: Nico Coetzee, head coach, South African Wrestling Federation (SAWF)

Country: South Africa

Games Role: Mpho will be an assistant to the team coaches and will be involved in all phases of planning and the pre-competition phases of preparation as well as preparation and competition during the Commonwealth Games.

Current Occupation: National level 1 coach; club head coach

Athletic Background: Mpho grew up playing soccer and netball at Kids Haven children’s home ( before joining the Benoni Wrestling Club and, later, the Boksburg Wrestling Club. She started wrestling at the age of 14, inspired by her friends at Kids Haven who competed every weekend. After two weeks, she wanted to quit, but, persuaded by a coach to enter a competition, she won her first gold medal and began her love affair with wrestling. She competed at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning the 53kg bronze medal in Glasgow. Regarded as her country’s leading female wrestler, her nickname is “Queen of the Ring”.

Coaching: After completing the provincial Level 1 coaching course, Mpho recognized the need for women coaches in wrestling and decided to continue learning and upgrading her credentials, which she has continued after retiring. Since 2009 when she began to take coaching seriously, she has been mentored by Nico Coetzee. “He guided me through the educational aspects of wrestling, we worked through all the technical parts and did a lot to make wrestling better and spectator-friendly.” Her athletes have become provincial and national champions. In 2017, Mpho was elected as the first female Vice President of the Eastern Gauteng Wrestling Association, the first black woman to be elected as an executive of a provincial body in South Africa. Her goal is to “bring women’s wrestling alive in South Africa” by developing and grooming young women to become good coaches, officials, team managers, and board members.


National Level 1 Grading, South African Wrestling Federation

International Sports Relation Programme

Diploma from Donga University, South Korea

Exercise specialist diploma

Importance of the WCIP: “ … opens another window for me as a woman coach … women in coaching will grow because whatever I learn I will share with my fellow women coaches in my country and Africa as a whole. I expect to learn more about coaching, over and above wrestling.” A strong supporter of mentoring in everyday life, Mpho says that without her mentor coach she would not be where she is today. “He helped me through thick and thin …”

After Gold Coast: Mpho recently open a new wrestling club in a developing area of South Africa. She hopes to teach her athletes life skills as well as wrestling. Her plan is to get youngsters off the streets and into the training room. Working with support of the SAWF, she is striving to attract as many women as possible to the sport, and plans to teach at least 10 women after the WCIP. She is already integrated into the SAWF coaching pathway as a national level 1 coach and will be provided with further development as a coach.

Commonwealth Connections: “The Modern Commonwealth brings all the Commonwealth countries together for discussion and to find solutions to mutual concerns. The Commonwealth Sport Movement focuses on partnership, engagement, and values that unite athletes, citizens, and communities. It means so much to be an assistant coach at Gold Coast and learn about coaching at an international level.”


Meet the Mentors

Name: Nico Coetzee

“I want Mpho to have a good understanding of high performance preparation and planning and practical coaching experience.”

Sport: Freestyle Wrestling

Country: South Africa

Current Occupation: Head coach, South African Wrestling Federation (SAWF)

Athletic History: Nico participated in wrestling during his primary school years and in various other sports such as rugby and marathon running,

Coaching History: Nico chose a coaching career because of his passion for assising young people in achieving their full potential at the highest possible level. He started coaching in 2000 and qualified as a national instructor in 2006 after which he became a club and provincial head coach. In 2009, he became the head coach of the SAWF, chair of the Coaches’ Council, and a member of the SAWF executive management. As a United World Wrestling Educator, he presents coaching clinics throughout Africa. A master coach with world-level experience, he coached at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games.


Master’s degree in Sport Coaching, daVinci Institute, South Africa (ongoing)

Importance of the WCIP: “Mpho Madi was one of my athletes and is a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist. She is qualifying as a coach and administrator and I want to assist her where I can because long-term development includes lifelong development. I want her to have a good understanding of high performance preparation and planning and practical coaching experience.” As a mentor, Nico says is role is to guide and assist in career planning, education, and personal development and to establish a good understanding of the principles of high performance coaching. “Mentors play an important role in establishing a well-founded coaching philosophy and a high moral and ethical value system.” He firmly believes there should be no difference in the coaching careers of men and women. Promoting women in wrestling is part of his coach development programme within the SAWF and he proudly supports the Women in Wrestling Initiative. One barrier is acceptance of male peer coaches in an environment dominated by male coaches. He recommends career paths, education, and development the focus on female athletes and coaches and establishing a core group of high performance coaches.

Commonwealth Connections: “The Commonwealth Games will be the pinnacle of many athletes’ careers, creating that one opportunity to win a medal at the highest level and sharing an unbelievable experience with other coaches, athletes, and friends. There is a special coherency and atmosphere at the Village and throughout the Games. Some opportunities come only once in a lifetime; I am honoured to be a Commonwealth Games coach for the third time, to be a part of something special, and to play a role on the lives of young people.”