Rio 2016: Judoka Ben Fletcher relaxed and ready to be “dangerous” on Olympic debut

10 August 2016

Team GB judoka Ben Fletcher is in the best shape of his career, physically and mentally, as he prepares to make his Olympic debut at Rio 2016.

That is the view of Juergen Klinger, his long-term coach at the University of Bath Sports Training Village dojo, who believes that Fletcher can prove “a very dangerous opponent” to the more established judoka in the men’s -100kg competition on Thursday.

Fletcher has been handed a tough draw against Georgia’s Beka Gviniashvili – the reigning World Junior Champion in the -90kg weight division – in his opening bout, scheduled for around 2.30pm BST.

“Gviniashvili won a Grand Slam tournament in Baku recently and is a very difficult opponent – explosive, strong and direct,” said Klinger, who first coached judoka at an Olympic Games in 1984.

“But Ben and I have had a conversation on the phone and he knows what tactics he has to employ. He is certainly good enough to do that.

“There are no easy draws, especially in this weight class where there are so many players who could win a medal, and anything can happen in this sport.

“Ben is someone who has beaten the very best, World Champions and World medallists. He is mentally strong and, having spoken to him, he is also so relaxed and really looking forward to the competition. He is very well prepared and feels in really good shape, at the maximum of his strength levels.

Ben Fletcher Bath Judo House

“Ben does judo for the challenge, he thrives on that, and he is a very dangerous opponent for the established judoka as he cannot lose, there is no expectation on him.”

There will be a big crowd at the Sports Training Village to cheer Fletcher on in Brazil, with a have-a-go judo session taking place from 2-4pm to coincide with the action from Rio which is being shown live on a big screen.

Dozens of people have already signed up for the Judo House session, run in association with British Judo. For more information or to register a place, click here.

Want to take up judo at Team Bath? Click here for details.

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