Aussie Judo Team Heads to Samoa Looking for
Gold - Beijing Olympians lead the charge
The Australian Judo team heads for Samoa this week to take part in the Oceania
Judo Union World Cup in Apia. Although the tiny country is still mourning the
dreadful toll from the recent tsunami the government, under the leadership of its
Prime Minister, is determined to make the event a success, and has dedicated it
to the victims of the tragedy.
The Australian team will be the largest taking part in the competition, with twenty
two men and sixteen women in the squad. The tournament has also attracted
entries from all over the world, including team from such judo heavyweights as
China, Russia, Canada and Brazil.
Prominent among the Aussie team will be a number of athletes who represented in
the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and others who took part in the 2009 World
Championships in Rotterdam.
Those expected to do well in Samoa are Janelle Shepherd from NSW, in the
women’s over 78kg category, and Mark Anthony (VIC) in the men’s 90kg.
Janelle has taken a break since the Games, but is back in training and looking to
cement her top ranking. Mark comes to the event fresh from a fine silver medal
in the Pacific Rim Championships in Taiwan, and a top16 rating in the World
Championships in Rotterdam in August this year.
Others with potential are Sydney mother of two Kylie Koenig, and Beijing Olympian
Matt D’Aquino of Canberra. The veteran of the team, Kylie recently cemented her
top ranking in the women’s 63kg category with a fighting bronze medal in the Pacific
Rim Championships, and a top 16 finish in Rotterdam, while Matt (60kg) will be
looking to regain the explosive form that saw him take Australia’s first men’s gold
medal in Pac Rim.
The team is a good mix of youth and experience as the National Federation looks
ahead to London and beyond. Almost half the team is under twenty one, but
already several of this younger brigade have World Championship and Olympic
experience behind them.