Golden debut for new country as Team Bath judoka Megan Fletcher makes winning return from injury

05 April 2017

Team Bath judoka Megan Fletcher enjoyed a dream debut for Ireland when she won gold at the Senior European Cup in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

In her first international competition for a year, Fletcher overcame Serbia’s Sara Tintor, Alina Lengweiler of Switzerland and France’s Gwenaelle Viard to claim the title in the women’s -70kg weight division.

It was also Ireland’s first international judo success since 2014 and an excellent return to action for Fletcher, whose hopes of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ended when she was diagnosed with spinal arthritis last year.

After months of recovery and rehabilitation in the Team Bath Gym, Fletcher – a Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games champion for Team England – is glad to be back on the competition mat and representing her new country, having previously fought for Great Britain.

In her latest blog post Fletcher, who is coached by Juergen Klinger at the University of Bath, said: “Judo is an individual sport but without the support from my coaches and team-mates I know there would be no way that I would be in the position I am today.

“Juergen has had the belief in me that I can get back from this injury and has supported me through all the frustration and tantrums over the past year, on and off the judo mat.

Barry Edwards, my physio at Team Bath, has been incredible with my rehab programme and I cannot thank him enough for the reassurance he has given me about being able to get back to where I want to be.

Team Bath judo's Ben Fletcher wearing MJ Church kit in March 2017

“Last but by no means least, Luke Vella, my strength and conditioning coach, has gone above and beyond to get me to where I am today. He has even taken part in high-lactate conditioning sessions alongside me.

“I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for me and I will forever be in their debt.”

Meanwhile, younger brother and fellow Team Bath judoka Ben Fletcher has been named in an 11-strong GB team for the European Judo Championships, taking place in Warsaw, Poland, from April 20-23.

The MJ Church sporting ambassador is one of four judoka in the squad to have competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Click here to find out more about the judo programme at the University of Bath.

PICTURED: Megan Fletcher (second from left) and her fellow medallists in Dubrovnik. Credit: European Judo Union/Tino Maric.

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