Rio Olympian judoka Nathan Katz has earned selection for Tokyo with a continental roll down quota spot, announced last week. Katz joins Aoife Coughlan and Katharina Haecker on the mat in Tokyo when the judo competition begins on 24 July.
Amendments to the IOC’s athlete replacement rules, along with other Team changes, has enabled the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) to select an additional 16 athletes, making it Australia’s largest ever Olympic Team for a Games on foreign soil.
The Australian Team now stands at 488, bettering the mark at Athens in 2004 with 482, with additional athletes drawn from five sports - Equestrian, Football, Hockey, Judo and Rugby.
Sydneysider Katz will head to his second Games, continuing the family judo legacy, with brother Josh a fellow Rio Olympian, coached by his father Robert, and his mother Kerry a competitor at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 when women’s judo was a demonstration sport.
“It’s been such an overwhelming week,” Katz said. “It’s just such a relief to hear I’m going. It’s been a challenging 18 months for everyone; to get a reward and keep that dream alive of having a crack in Tokyo, I’m super grateful.”
“To have missed out originally by such a small margin was hard, I had dealt with that disappointment over the last month and now it’s like I’ve got a new lease on life.
“The last month of reduced work has left me feeling really refreshed physically and mentally. Rio didn’t go the way I hoped, and I’m going to make the most of this opportunity.”
With the additional selections, the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo now stands at 488, with 261 women (53.5%) and 227 men (46.5%). It is the largest Australian Olympic Team at a foreign Games eclipsing the 482 athletes at Athens 2004 and our second largest ever, behind only Sydney 2000.
The Team features the greatest proportion of women (53.5%) and the largest Indigenous athlete representation (16 athletes) in Australian Olympic history.
Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman says the Tokyo Games are building into something that will capture Australia’s imagination.
“We’ve always said this Australian Team deserves a special place in history. But this is an unexpected milestone, and a positive one. I am really pleased for the athletes who now have this opportunity, just as I am disappointed when we lose athletes through the misfortunes that are a part of sport.” Mr Chesterman said.
“So, here we are just nine days until the Opening Ceremony, and I am in the position to congratulate all 488 athletes for their enormous effort to make it to Tokyo.
“The athletes announced today, from Olympic debutants to Olympic champions like Stuart Tinney, have been given an incredible opportunity and I am sure they will represent Australia with pride.