Judo Couple Koster de Villiers selected for Commonwealth Games
New Zealand judo couple Jason Koster and Moira de Villiers have been named among seven judoka set to represent New Zealand at this year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Jason Koster and Moira de Villiers are set to relive a dream as they head to their second Commonwealth Games together. The New Zealand Olympic Committee announced the judo squad headed to Birmingham in July on Friday with the Christchurch-based judo pair among them.
It will be the second time the couple have gone to a Commonwealth Games together after they both competed at the Glasgow Games in 2014. The previous edition in Goldcoast (AUS) didn’t include a judo tournament.
De Villiers claimed silver that year in the women's 70kg while Koster won bronze in the men's 100kg category.
"It’s a dream come true," de Villiers said. "After having my daughter four years ago, it’s been a real goal to get back to the Commonwealth Games and I’ve got my eyes on gold this time."
De Villiers, who enters Birmingham ranked second after winning gold at the Tunis and Algiers Opens to start 2022, said returning to one of sport's biggest stages alongside her husband added to the occasion too.
"We’ve been on this journey together for a really long time and it’s amazing to have my husband and coach right by my side."
Koster, who will also be coaching four members of the team at the event, added sharing the experience with other Kiwi judoka was also something to celebrate.
"To be taking a whole team is amazing, we only started this club four years ago and to now have five of us headed to Birmingham is fantastic, I don’t think I could have scripted a better end to my career."
Joining the couple are Qona Christie, Hayley Mackey and Sydnee Andrews in the women's divisions as well as Elliott Connolly and Kody Andrews in the men's sections.
All five will make their Commonwealth Games debuts in Birmingham.
“This means a lot to me, I’ve been doing sport my whole life, to represent my country it’s amazing. It’s a moment that I’ll cherish forever,” said Kody.
It’s the first-time judo athletes have been in any New Zealand Games Team since the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with judo left off the programme at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The naming takes the total number of athletes currently selected to the New Zealand Team for Birmingham 2022 to 32.
New Zealand judoka at Birmingham Commonwealth Games
Qona Christie – Women’s U57kg
Moira de Villiers – Women’s U78kg
Hayley Mackey – Women’s U78kg
Sydnee Andrews – Women’s +78kg
Elliott Connolly – Men’s U81kg
Jason Koster – Men’s U100kg
Kody Andrews – Men’s +100kg