Katz family affair in Rio | Rob's blog
Published 2 August 2016 (AEDT) | Author Rob Katz
Rob Katz - Father to Josh and Nathan Katz (judo)
Our Australian based Olympic Judo Team left Australia from Sydney on Wednesday 27th August.
Kerrye and I saw the team off which was bittersweet – one of many farewells for us over the past few years; however, on this occasion we had the excitement of knowing that we would be joining them in only a few days time.
Overseas-based athletes Katharina Haecker 63kg and Miranda Giambelli 78kg travelled to Rio from Hamburg and Milan respectively.
The team members have now all settled into the village and we have spoken to our boys a couple of times which was really nice. They have already had a couple of training sessions at a local Brazilian club together with Brazilian Judoka (Judo players), and the teams from Azerbaijan and New Zealand.
They trained in an open air dojo (training hall) which would have been quite an experience. They have also completed some S&C sessions to keep sharp and help with weight control.
Happily and touch wood, they have not been affected by issues with the rooms, fire warnings, or illness, although Nathan had to see Dr Azoury (Dr “John”), one of the resident doctors in the Village who also happens to be a Judoka from Canberra. He had a bad throat but after only a day, seems to have improved a lot which is good news.
The Australian Judokas have had great media coverage to date given they arrived before a lot of other teams. The story of the Judo brothers with Josh being the youngest competitor in the Judo competition seems to attract attention which is also great for our sport. After Eoin’s comment about his and Jake’s room not being as messy as the Katz boys’ room, they might even get some visitors to see just how messy they are.
As far as Kerrye and I are concerned, if their room wasn’t messy, we might be worried as this is quite normal.
Media coverage for Judo is great for us as Judo is not well known nor understood in Australia. This is a huge shame given its high international recognition for its value to education and discipline across all demographics. In Brazil, it sits behind only Football as the most popular sport and there is a successful program in the favelas which has already produced a World Champion. In this Olympic Games Judo is likely to again be the sport with the highest number of participating countries.
It’s amazing for our boys to be a part of this but right now they remain focused on the job at hand and have serious final preparations to complete including management of their weight.
So tonight (Monday) Kerrye and I are packed up and ready for the airport pickup tomorrow morning. I still have one more class to take at our Judo Club in Castle Hill which I enjoy and then we’re done!
As I have a Coach accreditation for Rio, I am very much looking forward to supporting Daniel Kelly the Head Coach at training sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then supporting our boys and the team during the competition. It will be very exciting to be a part of the “team”.
Our boys compete on Day 1 and 2 (6th and 7th August) which means they will have a lot of time afterwards to soak up the atmosphere, maybe compensating a little bit for missing the Opening ceremony. Unfortunately if you compete on the first 2 to 3 days, it doesn’t make sense to wear yourself out during the Opening Ceremony. The boys are certain to make up this after their competition.
Kerrye and I will be staying in an apartment in Barra near the village and the competition venue, sharing with my sister. We were fortunate to have support from one of the local Judo boys who just missed out on the Judo team but through his Brazllian background, was able to help us sorting difficult to get and expensive accommodation.
Till our next blog, this time from Rio.