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NZ judokas confirmed for Paris Olympics

Updated: 7 days ago

Sydnee Andrews and Moira De Villiers judo
Olympic newcomer Sydnee Andrews (left) joins the experienced Moira De Villers in judo for the Paris Olympics. PHOTOS: THENZTEAM

New Zealand judoka Moira de Villiers has confirmed her place to her second Olympic Games, 12 years after she first competed at Olympic level.


De Villiers will be joined in Paris by Olympic debutant Sydnee Andrews, who showcased her talent in claiming bronze at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.


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Since competing at London 2012 a lot has changed for de Villiers. She has married partner and fellow judoka Jason Koster, with the pair having a child.


"It’s been a long journey for me," said de Villiers.


"It's such an incredible honour to be able to represent my country again at the Olympic Games, 12 years on from my first. None of this would be possible without my whole team on and off the mat.


“I hope my performance inspires them and makes them proud, knowing that their support has been instrumental in helping me get here.”



De Villiers is New Zealand's most experienced female judoka. She is a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist and has earned a bronze medal at a World Cup, and gold, three silver and six bronze medals at Continental Opens.


De Villiers almost did not make the team, suffering a serious injury in April as she competed in the bronze medal final of Pan American Games in Brazil.


“I couldn’t get up to finish the fight and I had to be wheeled through the airport,” said de Villiers.


“Since then, I’ve been extremely stubborn and have worked incredibly hard to get back to this level of fitness. I’m now feeling really strong and am getting good numbers in the gym so again a massive shoutout to my team who have been fantastic.”



Meanwhile, Gisborne raised 21-year-old Andrews has relocated to the UK, where she is based at the Camberly Judo Club. Andrews claimed bronze at both the Rome Open and the Zagreb Grand Prix in 2023.


“Being speechless for me isn’t a thing but I can’t find the words to describe how I’m feeling right now,” said Andrews.


“I am truly honoured, excited, grateful and proud to be going and representing my country at the Olympic Games. It proves that hard work does pay off and never giving up on what you want in life. I’m still young so it’s the first of many to come hopefully.”


Judo at Paris 2024 begins on July 27 and will be contested at the Champ-de-Mars Arena.


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