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Games mission: Andrews giving it her all to get to London

Sydnee Andrews believes she has what it takes to earn her spot on the New Zealand team for the Commonwealth Games.

The up-and-coming judo star said she was excited but nervous as she prepares to head overseas to train and compete.

“I even sold my car to get that extra bit of money because it is my dream and my goal since I was a little kid.

“It's definitely not cheap. I've been working fulltime at the Tatapouri fishing club. . . I've started a Givealittle page, we're doing Lotto raffles, doing kids classes and doing garage sales.

“I'm not going to let money get in the way of what I really want.”

She is planning to base herself in the Netherlands but said she may have to go to London if lockdowns continue.

“There's a really good training centre there which has accommodation on-site and they produce a really good team.”

Andrews said she also wanted to soak up as much of the knowledge as she could, having had to take two years away from international competition due to Covid-19. “From only being from New Zealand, there's so many different ways of doing judo overseas, especially from countries that have more athletes and females in my weight category.

“It's kind of hard being a heavyweight female competitor in New Zealand as there's not many.

“I've had to fight people in the opens and even sometimes, people in the weight category below me comes up and fights me.”

As part of judo's qualification process for the Commonwealth Games, Andrews will have to earn points by winning fights to earn her spot in the New Zealand team. She said that winning against higher-ranked opponents gives more points, so finishing tournaments with consistently high results is important.

“Podium finishes will be really good for me and I think they will push me more.

“I will have more hope that I've got this, especially with having not as having as much experience since 2019 competing overseas.”

Despite missing out for two years, she believes she's in a better place now to strive to be a New Zealand representative.

“It's kind of jumping down in the deep end, going there with people who have been still competing because obvious Covid in North Africa and Europe is a bit different.

“I haven't quit, I haven't stopped. I've trained harder. Even though I haven't been able to go overseas, I think even keeping up with training, keeping fit, staying strong.”

Having started judo when she was just five years old, Andrews said she always had a unique attraction to the sport.

“I did a lot of other sports throughout my childhood, pretty much any (sport) you could name, but I still stuck with judo while doing all those other ones.

“I have more of a talent and passion for judo. I felt good at it. I liked being at the club, I felt like I could be myself.”

Sydnee Andrews - Syndee during tug of war with the kids from the holiday programme she is running to make money to head to Netherlands