Team Bath judoka Ben Fletcher can take a massive step closer to his dream Olympic debut this weekend when he represents Great Britain at the European Championships in Russia.
Four-hundred precious Rio 2016 qualification points are up for grabs at the last major competition before this summer’s Games.
Fletcher, who competes in the -100kg competition on Saturday, is currently just one position outside the automatic qualification places but still holds one of two European continental quota places with just one month of the qualification period remaining.
“The Europeans is one of the last Olympic selection events, so it’s really important to have been selected – if I do well it can make a big difference in my bid to qualify for Rio,” said Fletcher, coached by Juergen Klinger in the Sports Training Village dojo.
“It’s going to be very competitive because, in my weight, the best in Europe are the best in the world but I’m feeling really good going in and confident of putting in a good performance.
“My form has been a bit up and down this year but I feel in the best shape I have ever been. Hopefully I can qualify and show that at the Games.”
Fletcher has been drawn in Pool C in Kazan and will start his campaign against Poland’s Jakub Wojcik. Should he progress, he faces a tough test in the last 16 against either Russia’s Adlan Bisultanov or Elkhan Mammadov of Azerbaijan – both currently sit above Fletcher in the Olympic qualification rankings.