People and Places
Judo champ Harrison heads to Commonwealth Games
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

“I’ve travelled all over the world doing judo, to 20 countries,” says 24-year-old Australian judo champion Harrison Cassar. “I still think the Mornington Peninsula and my home town Dromana are the best places in the world.”

Harrison is ecstatic to have been selected as one of the 12 members competing in the Australian judo team at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games on July 28. Judo returns to the Games after last appearing in Glasgow in 2014.

This will be Harrison’s first Games; he will compete in the 90kg division. He is also proud to be the first person from Mornington Judo Club to compete at this level. “My original coaches from Mornington Judo, Michael Picken and David Karney, are still to this day always behind me. I wouldn’t be where I am without them and the support of my mum and dad. My dad was the one driving me to all the training sessions and flying me to all the competitions around Australia when I was a kid. My dad is still my No.1 supporter.”

The dedicated judoka heads off to Europe with his team at the end of the month where they will take part in judo training camps and competitions to prepare them for the Games.

Born and bred on the Peninsula, Harrison started judo at the age of eight. “I definitely fell in love with judo from the start. I remember my first session; I got thrown around by a girl half my size and I thought, ‘I have to know what this is about’. That’s what made me stick with it.”

Harrison has been a national medallist multiple times in both Australian under-20s and senior competitions and is No.1 in Australia in the 90kg division. He made his international debut for Australia at the 2018 Judo World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. After moving up a weight division, he claimed three bronze medals in tournaments in Asia in 2018 before snaring a silver at the open event in Taipei in 2019. 

“Judo is obviously an individual sport, but it teaches you appreciation for your training partners and the people around you. I think that’s why we have a tight-knit group at Judo Australia where we really support each other because we know we need each other to get better. I’m excited to be competing with this strong team and I suspect we’re going to have some really good results. I think there’ll be a fair few medals coming our way.”

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