The New Zealand Judo Team for Glasgow 2014 was named last week, Jason Koster, Moira De Villiers and Ryan Dill-Russell talk to us about what it means to be selected to represent New Zealand.
1. How does wearing the Silver Fern give you strength?
Jason: There is no greater honour for me than wearing the Silver Fern, the chance to put NZ on the sporting map is always one of the biggest motivators for me especially when competing overseas.
Ryan: The Silver fern serves ultimately as the nations hopes on your chest. It is an obligation to bring pride to those who have worn it and are to still wear it. It is a symbol of the nation of which you are the sole competitor/representative at that time and you want to do it justice and more.
What does representing New Zealand mean for you?
Jason: Ever since watching the 94 Commonwealth games and seeing Rendell & Fowler go 1 & 2 in the Cycling Roadrace its been a dream for me to create my own moment and inspire another generation. When I represent NZ, I not only represent the country but also my Family & Friends that have sacrificed so much for me over the years. The pride in wearing the NZ Uniform is something unrivalled for me and being able to put a smile on the faces of those that have been along the journey with me is truly a great privilege.
Ryan: Representing New Zealand is a great honor as this is our country in which I am so proud to live in. I have had the opportunity of travelling most of the North and South Island and through doing this it has been humbling. It is then that you recognize who you are representing from each small town to the larger cities.
It puts things in perspective that you are the one person in that division in the whole country and you are representing them all. New Zealand is sports mad and I am so happy that I will have the opportunity to be apart of our success as a nation at the Commonwealth Games.
What are 3 attributes that every Judoka needs?
Jason: Good question! It really depends on the individual and the beauty of Judo is despite being limited in certain characteristics you can still be successful, my personal top 3 are as follows:
1. Unrelenting Conditioning Heart rates in Judo can be in excess of 200bpm, and they stay within 90-100% of your Max Heart Rate for the duration of the fight, this means that your ability to operate under such high stress is crucial and if your fitness isnt up to standard youre going to struggle later in the fight
2. Strength & Power To be able to maintain grips on your opponent & throw them strength & power are essential. All top Judoka spend a fair amount of time in the gym.
3. Tactical & Psychological skills Modern Judo is a very tactical sport, the ability to be able to stick to a game plan with an opponent is really important especially when evenly matched. Judo is one of these sports where one small mistake can cost you the fight instantly. In line with this you must have a very high level of self-belief, especially competing against some of the powerhouse nations. Some Judo matches are won even before the competitors step onto the mat!
Ryan: I believe every Judoka should encompass Dedication, Humility and self belief in order to be successful.
How can women benefit by doing Judo?
Moira: Women can benefit from judo in many ways. Not only do you learn self-defense but you become more confident in yourself and the ability to protect yourself in certain situations. The lessons you learn on the mat really help in life as well. Having discipline in general, discipline in training so that you work hard towards a goal until you obtain it. Discipline in nutrition so that I can have a healthy lifestyle as well. But the most beneficial thing for me as a woman is that it makes me happy, something I have always and think i will always be passionate about is my life and career in Judo.