Judo addict has high hopes

Tim Brew's focus for the mat is on the Oceanias in Canberra.

Tim Brew's focus for the mat is on the Oceanias in Canberra.

UNDER THE EYE: Rebecca Grunwell captures the ghost-like presence of Dr Jigoro Kano — the “father of judo” — watching over the Gisborne Judo Club mats from the wall as Tim Brew (white) trains towards the Oceania championships.

JUDO is “like a drug” for Gisborne black belt Tim Brew.

His high comes from competing and in April the addiction will be fed in its purest form when he wears the silver fern at the Oceania Judo Union Championships in Canberra.

Brew has been added to the New Zealand squad for the “closed” champs and will contest the men’s under-90kg division.

He joins fellow Gisborne Judo Club member Caleb Jones-King, who is in the cadets division, and Perth-based Darcina Manuel (women’s under-57kg), who is currently competing overseas in a bid to gain world rankings points and boost her chance of Olympic Games selection.

Gisborne coaches Jason King (cadets/junior coach) and Kiki Velloza-Reedy (coach/team manager) are also part of the Kiwi contingent.

Another three GJC members — Lincoln Sycamore, John Mackay and Kane Affleck — will compete in the Oceania Masters/Veterans Open Championships at the same Australian Institute of Sport Combat Centre.

Brew will go in as the No.1-ranked New Zealander in his weight class.

The 28-year-old made a concerted effort last year to travel to various tournaments in the North Island and gain as many ranking points as possible with the view to making the Oceania champs.

Runner-up at national champs

He was runner-up at the national champs, losing to 2014 Commonwealth Games athlete Mark Brewer in the final, but ended up ranked No.1 by the year’s end.

It earned him a place at the Oceania Open in Wollongong in November. He beat a Sri Lankan fighter in the first round then lost to the No.1 seed from Algerian.

“That kept me at No.1 in the (NZ) rankings.”

He was initially chosen as reserve for the Oceania Judo Union Champs but injury to one of the two selected in his weight division opened the door and he is determined to make the most of his opportunity.

“I’m excited but there’s a lot of work to do to be ready.

“The Oceanias are tough, very tough. If you’re 1 percent off your best, that’s not enough.”

It’s also a situation where on a good day, with the right draw, he could achieve something special.

“If you make the final, you qualify for the worlds. That would be nice.”

He’s not familiar with his opposition but will do his homework on them online. Under long-time coach Jason King, Brew said he was pretty much training seven days a week on and off the mats. That’s on top of working fulltime at Farmlands and being step-dad to a three-year-old.

Fortunately he has the full backing of partner Sophie Steele, his regular travelling buddy.

“She doesn’t do the sport but has been incredibly supportive.”

Clearly she appreciates the role judo has played in Brew’s life since he first took to the GJC mats at the age of just six.

Twenty-two years on, having won national titles, represented his country and trained and lived in Japan to advance his skills and knowledge, Brew is well aware the clock is ticking on higher aspirations.

But his passion for competition still burns.

“I love the sport. It’s like a drug.”

And if it goes his way at the Oceania champs, who knows?

“There’s still a little bit left in me to achieve something.”

JUDO is “like a drug” for Gisborne black belt Tim Brew.

His high comes from competing and in April the addiction will be fed in its purest form when he wears the silver fern at the Oceania Judo Union Championships in Canberra.

Brew has been added to the New Zealand squad for the “closed” champs and will contest the men’s under-90kg division.

He joins fellow Gisborne Judo Club member Caleb Jones-King, who is in the cadets division, and Perth-based Darcina Manuel (women’s under-57kg), who is currently competing overseas in a bid to gain world rankings points and boost her chance of Olympic Games selection.

Gisborne coaches Jason King (cadets/junior coach) and Kiki Velloza-Reedy (coach/team manager) are also part of the Kiwi contingent.

Another three GJC members — Lincoln Sycamore, John Mackay and Kane Affleck — will compete in the Oceania Masters/Veterans Open Championships at the same Australian Institute of Sport Combat Centre.

Brew will go in as the No.1-ranked New Zealander in his weight class.

The 28-year-old made a concerted effort last year to travel to various tournaments in the North Island and gain as many ranking points as possible with the view to making the Oceania champs.

Runner-up at national champs

He was runner-up at the national champs, losing to 2014 Commonwealth Games athlete Mark Brewer in the final, but ended up ranked No.1 by the year’s end.

It earned him a place at the Oceania Open in Wollongong in November. He beat a Sri Lankan fighter in the first round then lost to the No.1 seed from Algerian.

“That kept me at No.1 in the (NZ) rankings.”

He was initially chosen as reserve for the Oceania Judo Union Champs but injury to one of the two selected in his weight division opened the door and he is determined to make the most of his opportunity.

“I’m excited but there’s a lot of work to do to be ready.

“The Oceanias are tough, very tough. If you’re 1 percent off your best, that’s not enough.”

It’s also a situation where on a good day, with the right draw, he could achieve something special.

“If you make the final, you qualify for the worlds. That would be nice.”

He’s not familiar with his opposition but will do his homework on them online. Under long-time coach Jason King, Brew said he was pretty much training seven days a week on and off the mats. That’s on top of working fulltime at Farmlands and being step-dad to a three-year-old.

Fortunately he has the full backing of partner Sophie Steele, his regular travelling buddy.

“She doesn’t do the sport but has been incredibly supportive.”

Clearly she appreciates the role judo has played in Brew’s life since he first took to the GJC mats at the age of just six.

Twenty-two years on, having won national titles, represented his country and trained and lived in Japan to advance his skills and knowledge, Brew is well aware the clock is ticking on higher aspirations.

But his passion for competition still burns.

“I love the sport. It’s like a drug.”

And if it goes his way at the Oceania champs, who knows?

“There’s still a little bit left in me to achieve something.”

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