Maria Swan and Rhys Allan are off to Chile on Sunday to fight for Australia. The Churchlands SHS students are in the under-18 national team that will take part in the world cadet judo championships.
“It might get pretty narky: people fight even harder for their country,” Maria (15) said, with Rhys (16) agreeing saying he was expecting a tough competition.
Australia will have eight male and female weight divisions at the event. From those fighters four boys and four girls will be chosen for the national cadet judo team. Judo cadets are under 18. Maria is in the 63kg division, and Rhys is in the 66kg group.
“We don’t whack people, we throw them,” Maria said. “My dad, Peter, is a coach and started training me when I was seven.”
Rhys said he trained up to 15 hours a week. “It’s about getting mentally tough, learning qualities of respect, and having international friends,” he said. “Judo is a grappling sport. It has bigger throws than wrestling.”
Maria has a blue belt, while Rhys has a brown belt. Rhys said his favourite judoka was American Travis Stevens. “He’s got an Olympic silver medal and is tactical,” Rhys said. “He knows we’ll never beat the Japanese or the Europeans at their style.”
Rhys and Maria are members of the UWA Judo Club, where Taketoshi Sekine is the development coach
Originally published by POST Newspapers 5 August
Graduate Officer, UWA Sport Marketing, Communications, and Events