NOUMEA, ( NZ HERALD) —Moira de Villiers and Jason Koster have taken out the women’s and men’s titles at Oceania judo championships in New Caledonia as they continue an impressive start to 2015.
It was de Villiers’ sixth consecutive title and Koster’s third in a row as the Christchurch couple both focus on qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“This result was a great way to cap off a successful few months” said Commonwealth silver medallist De Villiers “I’m now looking forward to getting home and beginning my build up towards worlds in August. While it’s nice to win six in a row the main goal is Rio.”
For Koster, who narrowly missed out on qualification for the London Olympics in 2012, there is no other focus except a spot on the plane to Brazil.
“I’m very happy to get the win in Noumea. After the disappointment of missing out on London it is great to be on track for Rio. There’s still a lot of work to be done in the next year but I feel a lot of confidence in my Judo at the moment,” said the Commonwealth bronze medallist.
Judo New Zealand national coach Robert Levy said the performance of the team had been impressive in the face of strong opposition “There was very tough competition coming from a well prepared Australian team who completed a solid build up in Europe ahead of the Oceania champs.” he said.
The Oceania championships have provided a great stepping stone for the New Zealand judokas to aid them in scoring important points in the lead up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In addition to Koster and De Villiers’ gold medals, the Kiwis took home four silver and two bronze medals as well.
“We are pleased with the New Zealand performances especially with our two golds coming from Moira de Villiers and Jason Koster. Backing up performances over a number of years is not an easy task, so we must applaud them.
“In addition to Moira and Jason we can be proud with New Zealand coming home with a multitude of silver and bronze medals. Overall we have had not only an impressive tournament but an inspiring one for our judokas.
“Moira and Jason have shown they are on track for the Rio Olympics and Adrian Leat, Ivica Pavlinic and Darcina Manuel are all positioned to step up their game again for the next major competition in a few months’ time.” said Levy.
Many of the squad will see an improvement in their world rankings after this event, which will assist them in qualifying for Rio. Rankings prior to the Oceania Championships saw a number of Kiwis in the top 30 including De Villiers who is placed 18th in the world, Koster 19th, Pavlinic 22nd, Manuel 24th in their respective weight classes.
New Zealand Medal Tally from the 2015 Judo Oceania Championships:
Jason Koster (M 100kg)
Moira De Villiers (W 70kg)
Darcina Manuel (W 57kg)
Lee Calder (M 73kg)
Samuel Rosser (M +100kg)
Justine Bishop (W 66kg)
Alex Bishop (M 66kg)
Adrian Leat (M 73kg)
Ivica Pavlinic (M 81kg) …