Aust name two-woman judo team for Olympics

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Australian judo stars Aoife Coughlan and Katharina Haecker will be hoping to inspire future generations of judokas after earning their tickets to the Tokyo Games.

Rio Olympian Haecker returns for her second Games and will compete in the -63kg division.

The 28-year-old was Australia's first ever medallist on the International Judo Federation Grand Slam Series in 2018, and the first Australian to win a Judo Grand Prix gold medal in 2020 in Tel Aviv.

Coughlan makes her Olympic debut and will compete in the -70kg division.

The 25-year-old enters the games in good form off the back of a bronze in the recent Asia-Oceania Championships and a top-eight finish in the World Championships.

The two-person judo team was revealed on Friday, but a third athlete is appealing their non nomination.

That appeals process will take place over the coming week.

Judo was founded in Japan, and both Coughlan and Haecker are excited to return to the sport's birthplace.

The duo will have to produce their best in order to snare what would be just Australia's third Olympic judo medal, but they are both daring to dream.

"My goal is to perform at my best, fully hearted without holding anything back," Haecker said.

"The dream of an Olympic medal is a big one, but I'm certain that each one of us is ready to take on this dream.

"I want Australians to see some great fights and hopefully there are some kids who fall in love with the sport like I did when I watched my first Olympics."

Coughlan delivered a breakout performance in the recent IJF World Championships to earn her place in the team.

She finished seventh after winning a gruelling 12 minute 50 second fight in golden score, more than three times the regulation time for a judo fight.

"Becoming an Olympian has been a goal of mine since a young age and I'm excited and proud to represent Australia at the Games," Coughlan said.

"Judo is a small sport in Australia and I want the younger generation to see that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and are willing to put the work in.

"Having had some strong performances in the last six months including top eight at the World Championships recently, my goal for Tokyo is to at least match that if not better."

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