New Zealand's wait for judo gold goes on

MATT RICHENS IN GLASGOW
Last updated 08:26 26/07/2014
Sam Webster
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Sam Webster takes a bite of his gold medal from the men's sprint.

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The shock death of Adrian Leat's brother nearly forced the Kiwi judoka to give away the sport and his Commonwealth Games dream.

Brother, friend and training partner Alister took his own life in February this year following a judo meet in Bulgaria attended by Adrian and fellow New Zealand team member Ryan Dill-Russell. 

Still battling with the loss of his big brother, Adrian this morning won New Zealand's second judo medal of the Commonwealth Games, a silver in the men's 73kg class.

Even while warming up for his five fights in Glasgow, Leat was still struck with pangs of grief. 

"This was definitely dedicated to him," he said. 

"I had him in mind the whole day. I had a few emotional moments when I was doing warm-ups and thinking about him."

Alister was also a handy judoka and he and his younger brother had both planned, dreamed and aimed to compete at the Games. 

"We both started this campaign together and we both started judo as 6 and 8-year-olds."To lose him a few months ago was more than I could handle. 

"I was very close to giving up the sport, giving up this dream, but a few strong people around me, my friends and my family have helped me get here today and I've got a great result.

"I've got to be happy with that and hopefully he's up there smiling."

Leat lost to English Olympian Danny Williams. He went behind early and, forced to chase the bout and the gold, was unable to overcome Williams. 

"He played his game well and knew my strengths. He didn't let me get ahead.

"Coming off the match straight away you're going to be disappointed not to get a gold. But once I've had a bit of time to think about it I'll be pretty happy, a silver medal is a big achievement."

While Leat battled to keep his emotions in tact, Christchurch's Moira de Villiers' emotions spilled over after she won the third New Zealand judo medal. 

De Villiers was physically and emotionally drained after her women's under 70kg final. 

She also lost to a Team England judoka, Megan Flecther, and was distraught after her bout.

"I just wasn't as aggressive as I would have liked," she said, fighting back tears.

"I just got caught with a silly turnover and couldn't get out of it.

"Losing the final's a hard one. Yes I won a silver, but I finished with a loss and that's tough."

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