Judo sights reset after big season

Reedy-Velloza named club’s judoka of the year

Reedy-Velloza named club’s judoka of the year

REWARDED: Award winners from Gisborne Judo Club’s prize-giving. Back (from left): Lincoln Sycamore, Esther Reedy-Velloza, Jacquie Shanks and Sydnee Andrews. Front: Corbyn Wilson, Chase Wilson, Coen-Theros Brown, Bonnie Shanks and Rubi Hart. Pictures by Paul Rickard
With medals and trophies won at the national champs are (from left) Sydnee Andrews, Esther Reedy-Velloza and Rubi Hart.

ESTHER “Kiki” Reedy-Velloza capped an outstanding season when she was named Gisborne Judo Club’s judoka of the year.

“When Jase (Jason King, men’s coach) told me that I had won, I told him to give it to someone else, one of the younger judoka,” the 49-year-old said.

“But Jase said he couldn’t do that, after the year I’d had and the fact that the award is not just based on results over the year but on judoka who best show the spirit of judo and those who put a lot of work into the club. So, I accepted the award humbly, but proud, too.”

Reedy-Velloza and Perth-based Darcina Manual became the club’s first Olympians when they were named in the New Zealand squad for the Rio Olympics — Reedy-Velloza as coach and Manuel as a competitor.

“That has to be the highlight, not just for Darcina and me but for the club.

“It shows that judoka from here can reach the top.

“Rio was a fantastic experience for both of us, and the goal now is to go to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

“It seems a long way off — another four years — but it will go by quickly.”

Reedy-Velloza, who has been coaching Manuel for the past six years at an international level, was in Spain this year with Manuel when she learned of her Olympic selection as coach.

“Darcina was on her final preparations for the Olympics, and I just felt she needed my support at an international training camp in Barcelona, and in a European senior A tournament in Slovakia, where she won a bronze medal.”

Reedy-Velloza said that result was a huge confidence boost.

“But it was also important that we both kept our feet on the ground and did not get carried away with the result.

“Five weeks before the games started, I was notified of my selection and it was a special moment to share with Darcina. We did the high-five and got on with our training schedule.

“Darcina and I have a very good coach/judoka relationship and my being in Rio when she fought was something that both of us will never forget.

“We both learned so much, and now Darcina wants to go on to Tokyo in 2020.”

Manuel won her first fight in Rio, against a Russian, but lost to the eventual bronze medallist, Thelma Monteiro, of Portugal.

While in Rio, Reedy-Velloza reconnected with Gary Hermansson, who was with the NZ Olympic team as a sports psychologist. He made a big impression on Manuel and Reedy-Velloza.

“Gary brought a calmness to the situation and he could see that we made a great team together.

“We already knew we worked well together but we were both thinking of stepping down after Rio.

“But he said we should continue to work together and aim for another Olympics.

“Darcina certainly has that in her; she’s only 24. Being an Olympian judoka has opened up other opportunities for her to live, train and fight in Europe next year.

“We both know she has to get out and fight regularly in Europe.”

On a personal level, Reedy-Velloza had a busy year, winning the senior women’s open title at the New Zealand nationals and following that up with the Pan Pacific Masters Games master women’s open title, in the over-70-kilogram division on the Gold Coast last month.

“I just entered a few comps at the beginning of the season, after Jason (King, fellow club coach) joked about my age,” she said.

“I started out with low-key stuff and set my sights higher as the year went on.”

Three Gisborne female judoka took out the open weights at the nationals this year — Reedy-Velloza, senior women; Sydnee Andrews, senior girls; and Rubi Hart, junior girls. The only time this had been achieved was 11 years ago, when Reedy-Velloza took the senior women’s open.

King said Reedy-Velloza was a tireless worker for the club.

“Her women’s classes are a feature of the club,” he said.

Reedy-Velloza said her Friday night women’s class attracted, on average, 22 — from three years to 40 years.

“You’re never too young or too old to do judo,” Reedy-Velloza said.

“At the Oceania Judo Union junior champs we had eight members (seven males and Darcina) from the club and they all medalled.”

While Manuel has her sights set on Tokyo, Reedy-Velloza is aiming at the International Judo Federation world veterans champs, and is gathering a small masters team to travel to Italy in November next year.

“I’ve got almost a year to prepare, but there’s also a lot of work to be done at the club so it’s going to be another busy year.

“Darcina is coming home next week, so we’ll spend some time together, catching up and planning.”

End-of-Year competition results and prize-giving:

Peewee girls: Grace O’Connor (gold), Mikayla Wilson (silver), Pearle O’Connor (bronze).

Open: Mikayla Wilson (gold), Pearle O’Connor (silver), Grace O’Connor (bronze).

Peewee boys, A group: Nikau Harvey (gold), Phoenix Clark (silver).

B group: Coen-Theros Brown (gold), Luca Alexander (silver), Michael Wilson (bronze).

Open: Luca Alexander (gold), Coen-Theros Brown (silver), Nikau Harvey (bronze)

Junior girls, under-30kg: Cleo Parkin (gold), Keeley Smiler (silver).

U35kg: Jasmine Kelso (gold), Shari-Lee Ratapu (silver).

Junior girls, open: Cleo Parkin (gold), Jasmine Kelso (silver), Allie Jones-Boyd (bronze).

Junior boys, u25kg: Taye McGuinness (gold), Rudi Abbott (silver), Marcus Gray (bronze).

U30kg: Corbyn Wilson (gold), Perrin Richards (silver), Chase Wilson (bronze).

U40kg: Sol O’Connor (gold), Theo Mackay (silver), Logan Bruce (bronze).

U50kg: Jasper Florence (gold), Rusty Smith, Ethan Wong and Taran Wilson (equal bronze).

Over-50kg: Oakley Brown-Terekia (gold), Tayze Samuel (silver).

Junior boys, open: Oakley Brown-Terekia (gold), Jasper Florence (silver), Rusty Jones and Sol O’Connor (equal bronze).

Senior girls, u45kg: Rubi Hart (gold), Anika Ratapu (silver).

O45kg: Ella Kelso (gold), Vita Anderson (silver).

Senior girls, open: Ella Kelso (gold), Rubi Hart (silver).

Senior boys and girls, mixed: Mikaere Marino-Moore (gold), Sydnee Andrews (silver).

Senior boys, 50kg: Elijah Moore (gold), Liam Mackay (silver).

Mixed open: Sydnee Andrews (gold), Kapua Thornicroft (silver), Mikaere Marino-Moore (bronze).

Cadet men: Tom MacKenzie (gold), Reuben Hiko (bronze)

Throw of the day: Shari-Lee Ratapu.

Player of the day: Sol O’Connor.

Most improved beginner: Chase Wilson.

Most improved girl: Bonnie Shanks.

Most improved boy: Corbyn Wilson.

Most improved senior man: Lincoln Sycamore.

Most Improved senior woman: Jacquie Shanks.

Incentive award: Sydnee Andrews.

Most outstanding judoka: Rubi Hart.

Junior judoka of the year: Rubi Hart.

Peewee of the year: Coen-Theros Brown.

Judoka of the year: Esther Reedy-Velloza.

ESTHER “Kiki” Reedy-Velloza capped an outstanding season when she was named Gisborne Judo Club’s judoka of the year.

“When Jase (Jason King, men’s coach) told me that I had won, I told him to give it to someone else, one of the younger judoka,” the 49-year-old said.

“But Jase said he couldn’t do that, after the year I’d had and the fact that the award is not just based on results over the year but on judoka who best show the spirit of judo and those who put a lot of work into the club. So, I accepted the award humbly, but proud, too.”

Reedy-Velloza and Perth-based Darcina Manual became the club’s first Olympians when they were named in the New Zealand squad for the Rio Olympics — Reedy-Velloza as coach and Manuel as a competitor.

“That has to be the highlight, not just for Darcina and me but for the club.

“It shows that judoka from here can reach the top.

“Rio was a fantastic experience for both of us, and the goal now is to go to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

“It seems a long way off — another four years — but it will go by quickly.”

Reedy-Velloza, who has been coaching Manuel for the past six years at an international level, was in Spain this year with Manuel when she learned of her Olympic selection as coach.

“Darcina was on her final preparations for the Olympics, and I just felt she needed my support at an international training camp in Barcelona, and in a European senior A tournament in Slovakia, where she won a bronze medal.”

Reedy-Velloza said that result was a huge confidence boost.

“But it was also important that we both kept our feet on the ground and did not get carried away with the result.

“Five weeks before the games started, I was notified of my selection and it was a special moment to share with Darcina. We did the high-five and got on with our training schedule.

“Darcina and I have a very good coach/judoka relationship and my being in Rio when she fought was something that both of us will never forget.

“We both learned so much, and now Darcina wants to go on to Tokyo in 2020.”

Manuel won her first fight in Rio, against a Russian, but lost to the eventual bronze medallist, Thelma Monteiro, of Portugal.

While in Rio, Reedy-Velloza reconnected with Gary Hermansson, who was with the NZ Olympic team as a sports psychologist. He made a big impression on Manuel and Reedy-Velloza.

“Gary brought a calmness to the situation and he could see that we made a great team together.

“We already knew we worked well together but we were both thinking of stepping down after Rio.

“But he said we should continue to work together and aim for another Olympics.

“Darcina certainly has that in her; she’s only 24. Being an Olympian judoka has opened up other opportunities for her to live, train and fight in Europe next year.

“We both know she has to get out and fight regularly in Europe.”

On a personal level, Reedy-Velloza had a busy year, winning the senior women’s open title at the New Zealand nationals and following that up with the Pan Pacific Masters Games master women’s open title, in the over-70-kilogram division on the Gold Coast last month.

“I just entered a few comps at the beginning of the season, after Jason (King, fellow club coach) joked about my age,” she said.

“I started out with low-key stuff and set my sights higher as the year went on.”

Three Gisborne female judoka took out the open weights at the nationals this year — Reedy-Velloza, senior women; Sydnee Andrews, senior girls; and Rubi Hart, junior girls. The only time this had been achieved was 11 years ago, when Reedy-Velloza took the senior women’s open.

King said Reedy-Velloza was a tireless worker for the club.

“Her women’s classes are a feature of the club,” he said.

Reedy-Velloza said her Friday night women’s class attracted, on average, 22 — from three years to 40 years.

“You’re never too young or too old to do judo,” Reedy-Velloza said.

“At the Oceania Judo Union junior champs we had eight members (seven males and Darcina) from the club and they all medalled.”

While Manuel has her sights set on Tokyo, Reedy-Velloza is aiming at the International Judo Federation world veterans champs, and is gathering a small masters team to travel to Italy in November next year.

“I’ve got almost a year to prepare, but there’s also a lot of work to be done at the club so it’s going to be another busy year.

“Darcina is coming home next week, so we’ll spend some time together, catching up and planning.”

End-of-Year competition results and prize-giving:

Peewee girls: Grace O’Connor (gold), Mikayla Wilson (silver), Pearle O’Connor (bronze).

Open: Mikayla Wilson (gold), Pearle O’Connor (silver), Grace O’Connor (bronze).

Peewee boys, A group: Nikau Harvey (gold), Phoenix Clark (silver).

B group: Coen-Theros Brown (gold), Luca Alexander (silver), Michael Wilson (bronze).

Open: Luca Alexander (gold), Coen-Theros Brown (silver), Nikau Harvey (bronze)

Junior girls, under-30kg: Cleo Parkin (gold), Keeley Smiler (silver).

U35kg: Jasmine Kelso (gold), Shari-Lee Ratapu (silver).

Junior girls, open: Cleo Parkin (gold), Jasmine Kelso (silver), Allie Jones-Boyd (bronze).

Junior boys, u25kg: Taye McGuinness (gold), Rudi Abbott (silver), Marcus Gray (bronze).

U30kg: Corbyn Wilson (gold), Perrin Richards (silver), Chase Wilson (bronze).

U40kg: Sol O’Connor (gold), Theo Mackay (silver), Logan Bruce (bronze).

U50kg: Jasper Florence (gold), Rusty Smith, Ethan Wong and Taran Wilson (equal bronze).

Over-50kg: Oakley Brown-Terekia (gold), Tayze Samuel (silver).

Junior boys, open: Oakley Brown-Terekia (gold), Jasper Florence (silver), Rusty Jones and Sol O’Connor (equal bronze).

Senior girls, u45kg: Rubi Hart (gold), Anika Ratapu (silver).

O45kg: Ella Kelso (gold), Vita Anderson (silver).

Senior girls, open: Ella Kelso (gold), Rubi Hart (silver).

Senior boys and girls, mixed: Mikaere Marino-Moore (gold), Sydnee Andrews (silver).

Senior boys, 50kg: Elijah Moore (gold), Liam Mackay (silver).

Mixed open: Sydnee Andrews (gold), Kapua Thornicroft (silver), Mikaere Marino-Moore (bronze).

Cadet men: Tom MacKenzie (gold), Reuben Hiko (bronze)

Throw of the day: Shari-Lee Ratapu.

Player of the day: Sol O’Connor.

Most improved beginner: Chase Wilson.

Most improved girl: Bonnie Shanks.

Most improved boy: Corbyn Wilson.

Most improved senior man: Lincoln Sycamore.

Most Improved senior woman: Jacquie Shanks.

Incentive award: Sydnee Andrews.

Most outstanding judoka: Rubi Hart.

Junior judoka of the year: Rubi Hart.

Peewee of the year: Coen-Theros Brown.

Judoka of the year: Esther Reedy-Velloza.

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