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March 28, 2002 Wrestling champ sets her sights on the 2004 Olympics



Martine Dugrenier

Martine Dugrenier

Photo courtesy of Concordia Sports Information

by John Austin

Martine Dugrenier is tired of answering questions about the WWF — and we’re not talking about the World Wildlife Fund. As soon as people find out that Dugrenier, a 22-year-old Concordia student, is a wrestler, the questions inevitably pop up.

“Oh, yeah, I get asked about that all the time,” she said. “People want to know if I wrestle like you see on TV with the World Wrestling Federation. It’s getting better, though. I’m getting more respect when people find out what it is that I do.”

Dugrenier, of course, participates in Olympic-style wrestling, and it’s no wonder that people are starting to take notice of her. She just got back from the Canadian university championships at Lakehead University, in Thunder Bay, Ont., where she won a gold medal in the 70-kilogram category.

Dugrenier beat seven other wrestlers from across the country for the title, including Brock University’s Laura Jones in the final match. Her convincing 4-1 win over the 2001 gold medalist earned her first-place honours.

“It was a great feeling when that match was over,” said Dugrenier. “I had seen Laura wrestle before, but if was the first time that we went head to head. I was confident that I could beat her.”

The third-year athletic therapy student took up the sport only three years ago.

“I was really into gymnastics before, and then when I went to Vanier [CEGEP], I decided to try wrestling. In my first year, I won the Provincials and came third at the Nationals. I figured I was pretty good, so why not continue?”

Dugrenier says everything she puts into her sport helps her overcome obstacles in life. “I’m able to learn from my mistakes, and it has taught me a lot of discipline and perseverance,” she said. “It’s a great sport where you combine strength with quickness and strategy.”

Dugrenier has a busy schedule, training early in the morning and late at night while sandwiching her classes in between. She also lifts weights, swims and plays both basketball and soccer.

“I feel better about myself because I’m in good shape and am striving for something,” she said. “I’m also very lucky to have great coach in Victor Zilberman. He takes the time to teach us all individually. He cares about his athletes, both as people and as wrestlers.”

Dugrenier says she likes to teach children, and hopes that more of them will take up the sport.
“There’s a misconception that it’s violent because of what people see on TV,” she said. “It’s not like that at all. Women’s wrestling is recognized at the Olympics, and I’m hoping that maybe I’ll be able to represent Canada in 2004.”