Olympics: Back to drawing board for de Villiers

By Troy Rawhiti-Forbes

New Zealand's sole judo representative says her first-round defeat at the Olympic Games was not what she wanted, nor what she expected.

Moira de Villiers had an eye on a top-10 performance in London, with plans of attaining a podium finish in Rio in 2016.

Instead, the 22-year-old judoka will be going back to the drawing board as she seeks to regroup before the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, after being beaten in London by German opponent Kerstin Thiele.

"It was a good fight because I didn't get thrown by her, so it wasn't like she got the better of me," she said.

"I got outplayed in the beginning, a couple of penalties, and I couldn't get back from it."

A competitor in the 70kg weight class, de Villiers was unable to capitalise on an opportunity to finish Thiele off. Her inability to execute a crucial move saw her penalised, and defeated. In the Olympic format, a loss means elimination.

However de Villiers remained optimistic about her future, and was full of praise for her coach and partner, Jason Koster, who remained with her during the Games.

"He's been fantastic. He knows me so well, and I wouldn't have wanted anybody else. I'm still quite young and I just want to take this experience, move on, and get some more experience in Europe."

She said it was "amazing" to belong to the New Zealand team, and was heartened by her peers' "openmindedness" about judo, a minority sport with a complicated rule set.

"A lot of the team members were getting into it and watching it with us," she said.

"It was quite good to let them know how hard it is. At the same time, it's such a great sport to watch. We do want to get our sport out there."

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