The MJ Church ambassador, coached by Juergen Klinger at the University of Bath Sports Training Village dojo, beat Russia’s Ramazan Malsuigenov by a waza-ari in a hard-fought final of the -100kg weight category.
Rio 2016 Olympian Fletcher had earlier overcome Russia’s Askhab Kostoev, Milan Randl of Slovakia and Algeria’s Lyes Bouyacoub on his way to securing a first-ever gold medal for Ireland at an IJF World Tour event.
“As always there are things to improve on but I’m very happy to start the year with this result,” said Fletcher. “Thank you to everyone who allows me to chase my dreams.”
Proud coach Klinger added: “There are maybe only ten athletes in the world who can win medals in the -100kg weight division, it is incredibly strong, and Ben has firmly established himself in that group.
“The ultimate aim is to win an Olympic medal and there are many stepping stones along the way to that goal. Winning gold this weekend was one of those.
“Ben is fully focussed on his sport and enjoying his training, which is showing in his results and performances.”
Team Bath Judo was also well represented at the Scottish Open at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, where Sports Performance student and King Sporting Scholar Prisca Awiti-Alcaraz won senior women’s -63kg gold.
“Prisca fought well and showed she has improved a lot both physically and technically,” said Klinger.
Twin brothers Oliver and Tom Nash claimed silver and bronze respectively in the junior men’s -73kg category and all Team Bath judoka finished in the top seven in their weight division.
Picture of Ben Fletcher in action courtesy of IJF – click here to see a full gallery of images