300 days to Rio 2016 as Olympic judo hopefuls face crunch continental competition

10 October 2015

It is exactly 300 days until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games get under way – and Team Bath’s elite judoka face a crucial competition as they bid to reach Brazil.

Valuable qualification points for the Games are up for grabs at the European Judo Open, which takes place this weekend in Glasgow for men and Lisbon for women.

Among those heading to Scotland is Ben Fletcher, pictured, who currently meets the qualification criteria for Rio but will be looking to strengthen his position in the standings.

He is 24th in the men’s under-100kg world rankings but, with each country limited to one judoka per weight category, the top 26 are currently in line to qualify.

Ahead of the European Open at the Emirates Arena, Fletcher – the top seed in his division – said: “It should be really good. If I can get a result there, it’s more ranking points and it would be good to do well in a home European Open.”

Four other Team Bath judoka, coached by Juergen Klinger at the Sports Training Village, will be competing in Glasgow this weekend.

Ghana’s Emmanuel Nartey is seeded sixth in an under-73kg division that also includes Jan Gosiewski, a Mechanical Engineering PhD student at the University of Bath who is supported by a Trendell Sports Scholarship.

Business Management graduate Tom Reed is seventh seed in the under-81kg category and Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Gary Hall will compete in the under-90kg division.

Over in Lisbon, Megan Fletcher is seeded seventh in the under-70kg category at the women’s European Open.

There are up to 100 qualification points available in each division at both Glasgow and Lisbon, so a good weekend could make a huge difference to a judoka’s Olympic ambitions.

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