Home » Judo news
The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com
Fletcher siblings write history for Ireland in Tel Aviv
31 Jan 2019 08:30
Two medals for Ireland in one weekend at the inaugural Tel Aviv Grand Prix. A unique and amazing performance for the small judo country. Both Megan and Ben Fletcher medalled in a unique weekend. At almost 30 years old Megan Fletcher, now of Ireland, has numerous titles to her name, from Commonwealth Champion to British Champion, but that step up to the IJF Tour rostrum has been a long time coming, requiring persistence no-one could have expected.
Being in full time training for 11 years and having been a member of the GB team alongside friend, Olympic bronze medalist, Sally Conway, vying for position was always challenging.
Megan’s big little brother Ben has medalled at this level before, taking 3 Grand Prix medals in the last year, all for Ireland. His success compounds Megan’s joy and she talks of how wonderful it is to share the highs and lows with family in this way.
On becoming only the third Irish judoka in history to medal at a Grand Prix Megan says, “I’ve felt capable at this level for a long time but without the medal in my hand I have doubted myself. Always nearly there but I haven’t been able to make that final step to the podium. It’s six years since my first World Cup medal and since then I’ve been able to beat one or two highly ranked players in a day but not keep it going through the final block.”
Psychologically it’s tough facing friends when so much can be at stake and Megan, an unassuming school teacher, has been willing to do what it takes but always with a sadness that someone has to lose. Her move to Ireland in 2017 via her mother’s family heritage has proven to be the best solution. Now Megan concentrates on technical and tactical development, staying injury-free and planning the competitive calendar around Olympic qualification. It’s fair to say this is Megan’s last chance and so it’s all in for the final leg, as full points qualification approaches.
Only 8 Irish judoka have medalled on the international stage before, at Continental Open or better, the first being Ciaran Ward, in Austria in 1991. Ciaran is now Irish National Coach and in tandem with Juergen Klinger at Megan’s current training venue, Team Bath, he provides that perfect coaching team for Megan to jump up to the IJF podium level.
Megan continues to speak about how much the medal in Tel Aviv means, recalling how in 2016 she had to face the prospect of possibly never doing Judo again, suffering a long term back injury. Recovery was long and far from comfortable but she is beating the odds and continuing to improve.
“The stress of trying to qualify in Rio had a big impact on my health and on my recovery from injury, but I’ve always believed in the process and have had the incredible luck to work with coaches I trust, who kept believing in me too. Don (Werner) taught me how to train. Juergen changed so much for me for the next step up. I’ve been really lucky with what Don gave to me. It will never leave me. Juergen and Ciaran together as a team now is the perfect combination for me in the modern international context.”
Both will fight at the Grand Slam in Paris in 10 days’ time.
Read the full article by Jo Crowley here.
Medals for Ireland in the IJF World Tour
2015 Lisa Kearney - Samsun GP - bronze
2018 Ben Fletcher - Tunis GP - GOLD
2018 Ben Fletcher - Düsseldorf GS - silver
2018 Ben Fletcher - Antalya GP - bronze
2019 Megan Fletcher - Tel Aviv GP - bronze
2019 Ben Fletcher - Tel Aviv GP - silver
Related judoka and events
Related Judo Photos
Related Judo Videos
Related Judo News
Former Junior World Champion Giovanna Scoccimarro captured her first IJF World Tour gold at the Grand Prix in Montreal. The tall German defeated home favourite Kelita Zupancic in the final for women U70kg. Read more
France's medal challenge in the women's U70kg competition is headed by Marie-Eve Gahie. However the competition is severe in this weight class. What used to be a European weight class is now a struggle against Japanese dominance at both Olympic and World level. Read more
Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Margaux Pinot (FRA) competed her Grand Prix hat-trick as the Frenchwoman swiftly dispatched Tel Aviv Grand Prix bronze medallist Megan Fletcher (IRL) in the -70kg final. Pinot threw for a waza-ari score and reacted first on the ground to submit her opponent with a juji-gatame. Read more
Swedish Anna Bernholm won her first Grand Prix title with a calculated performance against Junior World Championships gold medallist Alice Bellandi (ITA). The experience of the Swede told as Bellandi was overzealous and put everything into a hip technique but Bernholm blocked and countered to win by ippon in just 38 seconds. Read more
France was the best nation at the European Cup for seniors this weekend in Dubrovnik. The French took 50% of the titles. Host nation Croatia won two gold medals on Sunday. The category +78 between Ivana Maranic and Ivana Sutalo was an all Croatian final with Maranic as the winner. Heavyweight Ivan Covic snatched the gold for his home country against Claudio Pepoli (ITA). Read more
Luka Kvirkvelia (GBR)