08 April 2016
Australian athletes have claimed 10 gold medals at the Oceania Judo Championships at the AIS Combat Centre, many boosting their chances of qualification for the Rio Olympic Games.
A total, 48 competitors from nine nations competed, with the Australia topping the medal count with seven gold medals in the men's category and three in the female.
To directly qualify for Rio, male athletes must be ranked in the world’s top 22 at May 30, while women need to be in the top 14.
Australia entered the Oceania tournament with the majority of its nominated athletes outside the direct qualification zone, but many boosted their chances with victory at the AIS. Athletes still face a nervous wait, as the Asian, European and Pan American continents fight it out later this month.
In the men's category, Josh Katz was too strong for French Polynesian, Yvan Shan in the under 60kg elevating him to No.19 in the world.
Katz's brother, Nathan, was unbeaten in the under 66kg category defeating New Caledonian, David Mai in the gold medal match to end up ranked no.17.
In the hotly contested under 73kg category, Aussie Jake Benstead prevailed over Gaston Lafon from French Polynesia to do himself no harm getting to Rio, sitting comfortably as the no.14 following his gold medal bout.
Eoin Coughlan won the under 80kg against Fijian Josateki Naulu, rising to the top 22 . In an all Australian affair under 90kg final, Sebastian Tomesi upset Diego Baretto to give himself a chance to fight in Rio. Canberra local and crowd favourite, Duke Dider was dominate in both of his fights to take out the under 100kg quite convincingly, moving to a rank of No.22 in the world.
Australia's best chance for Rio qualification, Katharina Haecker, outdid her Australian training partner Maeve Coughlan in the under 63kg. Haecker is now placed no.10 in the world.
Miranda Giambella moved inside the world’s top 14 by defeating of fellow Australian Melanie Wallis in the under 78kg final. In the under 48kg, Australian Chloe Rayner defeated New Zealander Emma Rouse in Golden Point. In the under 52kg, Australia's Hannah Trotter and Tinka Easton were both ousted by New Zealand's Justine Bishop dashing their Olympic dreams. Under 70kg Aoife Coughlan was successful in all her bouts to take out gold, but will need to rely on strong results in the final tournaments to secure a ticket to Rio.
The Australian team will now turn its focus on a high performance camp at the AIS over the next few days, before they begin preparations on the remaining Olympic qualification tournaments in Baku, Azerbaijan and Almaty, Kazakhstan in May.
For detailed results see below. http://www.ippon.org/oju_sen2016.php