Accomplished young judoka Darcina Manuel has today had her spot confirmed to compete in the Women’s – 57kg judo division at the Rio Olympic Games by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
For the 23-year-old from Gisborne, Olympic selection comes as an exciting step up following on from her bronze medal finish at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Speaking from her current base in Perth, Australia, Manuel was stoked to be officially welcomed to the team.
“I am thrilled to be selected into the team today and cannot wait to put everything together to make it work and represent New Zealand in Rio!
“For 16 years I have been working towards this goal and it means the world to me,” she said.
With a Commonwealth medal under her belt at just 21 years of age, Manuel has pressed on over the past two years and fully committed herself to her sport, with the allure of the Rio Olympic Games as an added incentive.
Balancing work commitments with a full training schedule, the dogged determination and commitment has paid off for the young athlete with a recent gold medal from the 2016 Oceania Judo Championships in Canberra boding well ahead of August. With just 49 days to go until the Games kick off, the coming weeks are hugely important.
New Zealand Olympic Committee Kereyn Smith congratulated both Darcina and Judo New Zealand on the milestone and noted the exciting range of athletes and sports forming the Olympic team for Rio.
“For a proud sporting nation of just 4.5 million, to have athletes represented in such a wide range of sports is very encouraging and positive. It is brilliant to have Darcina flying the New Zealand flag for judo in Rio this year.
“Following on from her efforts in Glasgow, I know New Zealanders are looking forward to backing her and the entire team as we take on the world this August,” said Smith.
Judo New Zealand President Derek Maggs congratulated Darcina on her selection and wished her well in the build up to the Games.
“Darcina has worked extremely hard for this and with a string of strong results to her name the New Zealand judo community is excited to be backing and following her progress towards Rio.
“It is great to see her inspiring the young generations of judokas coming through,” he said.
The judo competition at Rio will be held from Saturday 6 to Friday 12 August 2016 at the Carioca Arena 2 in the Barra Olympic Park and is one of the most global sports at the Olympic Games. With over 200 countries represented in the International Judo Federation and around 120-130 competing at a World Championship level.
Darcina Manuel’s selection into the New Zealand Team brings the total team size to 104, with weightlifting, rugby sevens and women’s hockey selection announcements expected in the coming weeks.
Judo is a modern martial art and combat sport derived from jujutsu, the hand-to-hand combat technique of ancient samurai warriors. It involves throwing opponents to the floor and holding them in submission.