Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Nathan and Josh Katz are eyeing the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
They participated at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with Nathan repeating at the 2020 Tokyo Games. The siblings have battled major injuries and are great ambassadors for the sport. They believe judo will grow tremendously following a record 10-medal haul for Australia in Birmingham.
They get their judo genes from parents Rob and Kerryre who run the Budokan Judo Club in Castle Hill. Kerryre competed at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul when judo was a demonstration sport.
Nathan, 27, said their quest for Olympics starts with the World Championships slated for Uzbekistan in October.
“Having dealt with some major injuries leading up to Birmingham, I’m looking to get a big training block at home and in Europe in the lead-up to the World Championships,” Nathan said. “I believe our team’s success in Birmingham will be huge for the growth of the sport in Australia.
“We have a number of fantastic role models for the next generation of aspiring athletes and I hope our team’s success will be a springboard for the continual success of the national team across all ages.”
Nathan had surgery on his right knee eight weeks before the Games, while over the past two years had a stress fracture and bulging disc in his lower back.
He advises youth to set “big, lofty goals that excite and motivate you and to work extremely hard in order to achieve them”.
“When you are incredibly passionate about something, the setbacks and obstacles only make you stronger on the pursuit of your goals. Anything is possible for those who want it enough,” Nathan said.
Josh, 24, who is completing a double degree in Sport and Exercise Science and Sport Management, said their aim is to compete in Paris together.
“I had a really difficult run of injuries in 2018-19 where I missed almost half of the qualification events,” Josh said. “The worst was at a competition in Perth where I needed full elbow reconstruction surgery after tearing the ligaments, tendon, and muscle off the bone.”
A junior coach, Josh shares his amazing story with high school students to help develop resilience, mental fitness, and motivation. “My advice to anyone wanting to start judo for the first time or trying to go to the Olympics is to really enjoy it,” Josh said. “Judo can be a very hard sport sometimes and it’s so important when it gets tough to remember why you started in the first place because if you don’t love it, it’s going to be really hard to keep going.
“If you do love it though, I can guarantee you’ll achieve things you never thought possible.”
The brothers compete in four more Olympic qualifying events this year.