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Judo Star Josh Katz Rocks Into Olympic Contention

Josh Katz. Picture Courtesty International Judo Federation Judo Star Josh Katz Rocks Into Olympic Contention
Josh katz. Picture courtesy international judo federation.

Courageous champion Josh Katz doubted he would compete in the Olympics again when he suffered serious injuries over the past couple of years. A knee injury in January had him even pondering the unthinkable: would he ever get back to judo at all?

In one of the feel-good sporting stories of the year, The Hills District star not only got back to the sport – where he has won 11 Oceania titles and 12 Australian crowns – but has also qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics starting next month. It did not come easy; Josh had to perform at his best at the last two qualifying events over the past month to earn his spot.

Josh Rob And Nathan Kataz Judo Star Josh Katz Rocks Into Olympic Contention
Josh, rob and nathan katz.

The 2022 Commonwealth bronze medallist and 2023 Pan American Oceania Championship silver medallist now wants to win a rare Olympic judo medal for Australia.

“After the disappointment of missing qualification for the Tokyo 2021 Games, it’s been a very challenging couple of years for me during this Olympic cycle,” Josh, 26, told the Hills To Hawkesbury Community News.

“Coming back from a number of really serious injuries that made me really doubt whether or not I was going to be able to get to Paris. In particular, after injuring my knee in January this year, I had so much uncertainty around if I would be able to get back to Judo at all in time, and even more so how I would be able to perform when the time came.

“Needing to reach the final of my last two qualification tournaments in Tahiti and Ivory Coast, it was a huge relief to finally secure my official Olympic qualification after achieving both results. Even more so, it is really special to be able to share that experience at the time with my brother Nathan who was coaching me at the events, and then with my family and friends when I returned home to Sydney.”

Nathan And Josh Katz Copy Judo Star Josh Katz Rocks Into Olympic Contention
Nathan and josh katz

Josh was the youngest Australian male judoka to compete in the Olympics, making his debut at the 2016 Rio Games, aged 18 years and 220 days. He and Nathan were the first brothers to compete for Australia in judo at the same Olympics.

The champion genes run strong in the Katz family with Dad Rob, Mum Kerrye (1988 Olympian), and brother Nathan all masters of judo. The family run the highly-rated Budokan Judo Club in Castle Hill. “With less than five weeks to go until the Games,

I’m extremely excited to be able to prepare once more to represent Australia at the Olympic Games, and see the reward for years of struggle,” Josh said. “These last couple of months have really shown me that anything is possible, so I want to put everything on the line once again to win Australia’s first Olympic men’s medal in judo in 60 years.” Josh competes in the Under-60kg weight class.

Lawrence Machodo

Highly experienced and award-winning journalist with a demonstrated history of working in the newspaper and media industry both in Australia and overseas.  Lawrence Machodo is our Sports Writer.

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