Commonwealth Games Australia has selected 12 of Australia’s best judokas to represent the green and gold at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with judo returning to the Games after last appearing in Glasgow in 2014.
The Katz family name is synonymous with success in judo and at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games brothers Nathan and Josh Katz are looking to add two gold medals to their family’s legacy.
The pair add their names to the long list of siblings and family members who have represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
They join Katharina Haecker and Jake Bensted who will make history, becoming the only Australian judokas to compete at two Commonwealth Games in a highly motivated and diverse squad of 12 selected by Judo Australia.
The Katz brothers, who moved to Melbourne earlier this year to prepare for the Games, grew up in Sydney dreaming of winning gold medals.
Their mother, Kerrye Katz, competed for Australia when women’s judo was a demonstration sport at the Seoul 1988 Olympics, coached by their father, Rob. Rob continues to coach his sons, who became the first brothers to represent Australia in judo at the same Olympics, at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Younger brother Joshua said Games selection takes him and his brother one step closer to realising their childhood dream.
“The goal is to win two gold medals for Australia on the same day of the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“Unlike Nathan, I failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The setback provided me with a huge motivating force to push forward into the next cycle and I’ve been able to bounce back in 2022 with the best run of international results of my career.”
While there are 10 Commonwealth Games debutants in the squad, Katharina Häecker is excited about the opportunity to represent Australia again.
Joining Haecker in the women’s squad is Victorian Aoife Coughlan, whose brother Eoin competed at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics. Coughlan, from Traralgon, has a younger sister, Maeve, who is also part of the national team but was unavailable for Games selection due to injury.
Tinka Easton, 25, from Berry on the New South Wales South Coast, and Abigail Paduch, 22, from the Illawarra region of NSW, round out the Australian women’s judo team.
Serbian-born Uros Nikolic was a silver medallist for Australia at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in 2017 and is aiming to better that result as an adult.
Harry Cassar, from Dromana, is an animal lover and movie buff and one of the 10 judo selections making their Commonwealth Games debut. Cassar’s fellow Victorian, Liam Park, and Sebastian Temesi, 32, from Mossman in Far North Queensland, round out the Australian contingent.
Australian judokas have enjoyed a stellar start to the 2022 season with Josh Katz joining Haecker, Coughlan, Ozcicek-Takagi and Easton in winning bronze in the mixed team event at the PanAmerican-Oceania championships in Lima, Peru.
Australian Commonwealth Games Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM was thrilled to welcome the 12 judokas to the growing team bound for Birmingham.
“It is wonderful to welcome the selected judokas to the Commonwealth Games team for Birmingham,” Thomas said.
“Our Judo Australia stars have had an incredible start to 2022 winning medals at world judo events, most recently bringing home the bronze in the mixed team event in Peru.
“Congratulations to Tinka, Katharina, Aoife, Abigail, Joshua, Nathan, Jake, Uros, Harrison, Sebastian, Kayhan and Liam on making the Australian Team. It is a great day for them, their families, friends and supporters.
“I know all of our judokas will all be working hard towards the Commonwealth Games and ready to be bold, brave and brilliant in Birmingham.”
Judo Australia CEO Emma Taylor shared her congratulations to the selected Team Members and said she knows they will compete with pride and passion in Birmingham.
“Congratulations to our judo athletes selected to represent Australia at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games,” Taylor said.
“These athletes embody the values of our sport and they carry the Australian flag with pride.
“Their commitment to the sport, their clubs and coaches is recognised in this selection and we know they will make us proud.”
Combat Institute of Australia CEO Alex Vallentine was thrilled for the judokas and endorsed Taylor’s sentiments.
“It’s amazing to now have these 12 judokas named to the Australian team for Birmingham,” Vallentine said.
“Judo Australia has nominated an exciting group filled with potential and talent and we look forward to Judo returning to the Commonwealth Games for the first time since Glasgow 2014.”
“These judokas are the latest #TeamCombat athletes named to the Australian team, joining our boxers in the green and gold, and with our Wrestling team to also be named in the weeks ahead.”