Purple Pipe: wrestler Jennifer Nguyen

Junior national gold locks up this week’s honours

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Jennifer Nguyen

Jonas Hrebeniuk

WRESTLING MY OWN DEMONS...AND EVERYONE ELSE. Women’s grappler Jennifer Nguyen has a firm half-nelson on this week’s Purple Pipe after her standout performance on the mat.

Though most teams’ seasons have wrapped up, Mustangs wrestler Jennifer Nguyen is still bringing home the hardware, making her a natural choice for this week’s coveted Purple Pipe.

While everyone else was drinking green beer on St. Patty’s day, Nguyen was busy defeating Meghan King of Regina’s Cattown Wrestling Club to win the individual 55-kilogram gold medal at the Junior National Wrestling Championships in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

The Gazette sat down with the second-year health science major to chat about the Olympics and bar fights.

How long have you been wrestling and why did you start?
I’ve been wrestling since I was 14, so six years. I started because it was a big sport at my school and all of my friends’ older siblings did it and they told me to come out.

Was this your first time competing at the national level? What was it like?
I’ve competed a few times at the national level in the past, but there was more pressure on me this year because it was my last year competing at this age group. Everything went how I wanted it to go, though. Last year, I had gold and silver medals in my weight [division].

How has being on the wrestling team shaped your experience at Western?
Wrestling...has really shaped my entire life, because there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it or experience it. Since I was 14, it’s defined who I am.

Have your wrestling skills ever come in handy outside of competition?
Generally, wrestlers get stereotyped as being kind of rough and tough. I guess sometimes out at the bars when my guy friends get into fights they’re like, “You should join in,” but I don’t really do that kind of stuff. I try to keep it on the mats and take my aggression out there.

Do you plan to continue wrestling after university?
That would be the goal " to complete university and do more international and Olympic-level wrestling. That’s pretty much the goal of every wrestler.

What’s been your favourite course so far at Western?
I’d say anatomy. The prof is great and, being an athlete, it’s kind of cool to learn about how your body works.

How do you deal with the bumps and bruises from wrestling?
It’s gotten to a point where it doesn’t really affect me anymore. Being a wrestler, you’ve got to learn to be tough and deal with it.

Who is your favourite professional athlete?
I’d probably say Tonya Verbeek, just because she is a wrestler and she is actually at the weight that I wrestle at. She’s the first Canadian woman to medal at the Olympics for wrestling.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette