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Irish Judoka Ben Fletcher Gives Hugely Emotional Interview After Olympic Exit

Irish Judoka Ben Fletcher Gives Hugely Emotional Interview After Olympic Exit
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Irish judoka Ben Fletcher has had a more interesting route to this Olympics than most.

The 29-year old was born and reared in Reading, representing Great Britain on the international stage from an early age. That stint included bronze at the 2011 World Junior Championships and a number of medals on the grand prix circuit.

He would go on to take part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, before switching to Ireland the following year. Fletcher, along with his sister Megan who also competed in Tokyo, qualify for the country thanks to their mother who hails from Limerick.

However, the 29-year old would bow out at the 100kg elimination round of 32 stage earlier this morning at the hands of Uzbekistan’s Mukhammadkarim Khurranov.


Fletcher went through a lot to reach these games having broken his leg earlier this year, meaning his training was severely limited ahead of the games.

Speaking to RTÉ after his loss, he got emotional as he explained how proud he was to represent Ireland on an Olympic stage.

It was very touch and go whether I'd get here or not. I'm here, it took a lot to get here. I'm proud of that...

Mum is from Bruff, county Limerick. We've still got plenty of family in Bruff and Dublin as well. I might not have the accent, but I'm very proud to represent them...

It's massive (to represent Ireland). It gave a me a lifeline to come back. In different circumstances I would be one of the guys that would be shooting for a medal here.

Given the circumstances, there's not so much you can hope for. It was a case of get yourself as fit as possible and go.

It's hard to think about that performance at the moment, it could have been a lot worse. I felt good, I got into good shape. It's just tough.

I'm hugely, hugely proud to represent Ireland. I've loved every moment of it. Team Ireland have been so good to me, I couldn't have had better support.

All my family in Ireland have been so proud of us getting here. I couldn't be more proud to be here.

Given the circumstances it's not the best, but what can you do...

It gives me immense pride to represent Ireland, sorry I couldn't give more.

Megan Fletcher would also bow out at the same stage in her weight division yesterday, losing to Austria's Michaela Polleres.


A tough break for two excellent competitors.

SEE ALSO: Team Ireland's Welcome For Victorious O'Donovan & McCarthy Is An Amazing Watch

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