Judoka Ben Fletcher strikes gold in Mauritius to take step closer to Rio 2016

09 November 2015

Team Bath Judo Club’s Ben Fletcher gained more valuable qualification points on the road to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as he struck gold at the African Open Championships in Mauritius.

The 23-year-old, coached by Juergen Klinger at the University of Bath, dominated all of his fights in the under-100kg weight division to claim the third international title of his career and his second in 2015, following his success in Tunis in January.

After overcoming Turkey’s Ali Erdogan and Serbia’s Stefan Jurisic in the preliminary rounds, Fletcher recorded an impressive semi-final win by ippon against strong Italian Domenico Di Guida before defeating Patrik Moser of Switzerland in the gold-medal match.

Fletcher, who has also won three bronze medals on the international circuit during 2015, has now moved up to 20th in the Olympic Games qualifying ranks with the top 27 on course to compete in Rio.

He was also named as Senior Male Player of the Year at British Judo’s ninth Annual Awards Dinner on Saturday.

Club colleague Emmanuel Nartey was fifth in the under-73kg weight division in Mauritius. The London 2012 Olympian from Ghana defeated Qatar’s Morad Zemouri, India’s Attar Singh and Britain’s Daniel Williams in the preliminary rounds but was beaten by Canada’s Arthur Margelidon in the semi-finals before losing to Italy’s Enrico Parlati in the fight for bronze.

Nartey, who has juggled training during the past year with his career in the British Army and studying for a PhD, is now heading to a four-week training camp in Japan as he focuses on a final push for Rio qualification.

Tom Reed, who is fighting through the pain barrier as he waits on an elbow operation, suffered a first-round exit to Austria’s Marko Bubanja in the under-81kg category in Mauritius.

Despite having a loose piece of bone in his left elbow, Business Management graduate Reed will fight again this weekend at the Oceania Open in Woolongong, Australia as he seeks qualification points for Rio 2016.

Reed will be joined by both Ben and Megan Fletcher in Australia, as well as Biomechanics PhD student Jan Gosiewski. He is supported by a Trendell Sports Scholarship and is a Dual Career athlete at the University of Bath.

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