Ben Fletcher announces retirement from Judo 

The Irish Judo Association would like to wish our Olympian Ben Fletcher the best of luck as he embarks on his retirement from Judo.

Alongside his sister, Megan, Ben competed at the most recent Olympic Games in Tokyo. During his career he achieved many successes, standing proud on the podium at IJF World Tour events. He filled all in Irish Judo with pride as he stood in the gold medal position at the Marrakech Grand Prix with the Irish flag proudly raised as Amhrán na bhFiann rang out.

Ben has been an inspiration to so many Judoka, young and old in Ireland. His determination and dedication to the sport of Judo is one of a kind. Ben recovered from a serious leg injury just before the Tokyo Olympics to ensure that he would be able to compete, which is a testament to his dedication to Judo and to his legacy as a high-performance athlete.

Announcing his retirement, Ben said;

“I just want to take this opportunity to offer a massive thank you to Irish judo and all those who work within the organisation. The level of support that I have received over the last few years has been nothing short of incredible. This support has led to the best results of my career and also the happiest and most balanced years of my career. As an athlete all you want is to feel like you are valued and being supported as best as you can be and put simply, I have always felt this way when working with Irish judo. From Deirdre in the office to Sean as the President everyone has always been a joy to work with.

A special thank you must go to Irish Judo’s Performance Director, Ciaran Ward. Ciaran could not have done more to help and support me over the last few years, whether that was during the good times when we were winning medals together or during the not so good times like last year in Tel Aviv when I broke my leg. Ciaran has always been professional, trusting and caring and is for me the epitome of a high-performance leader. I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done and given for me and the other athletes in the team.”

Ben has brought so much to the wonderful sport of judo and has helped to inspire a generation of young Irish Judoka.

Irish Judo’s Performance Director, Ciaran Ward has had the pleasure of being a coach to Ben over the years and has said the following about his career and accomplishments;

“Ben Fletcher has been Irish Judo’s most successful Judoka ever on the IJF World Tour, winning a remarkable 2 Grand Slam and 5 Grand Prix medals during the Tokyo Olympic Cycle. One of his most impressive achievements was his incredible return to competition following a serious injury just 5 months before the Tokyo Olympics, however, his lasting legacy with Irish Judo will be the indelible contribution he has made to the High-Performance Culture within our sport here.

An absolute Gentleman to his core, Ben will be sorely missed as both a World Class competitor and a model ambassador for Irish Judo. We wish him every success in his future endeavours and hope to work with him soon in his new role as a Coach.”

Ben Fletcher and his coach and IJA High Performance Director, Ciaran Ward.

The Irish Judo Association’s President, Sean Fleming, has made the following statement regarding the announcement of Ben’s retirement;

“On behalf of all at Irish Judo I wish to thank Ben for his contribution to Irish Judo. Ben was an excellent judoka, as is shown by his results on the international circuit. An outstanding role model for all aspiring judoka. It is very important that your top player is also the top trainer and demonstrates the best behaviours. Alongside his sister, Megan, Ben made it exciting for us all to watch the IJF Tour, we wish Ben every success in his future endeavours and have no doubt that he will continue to make positive contributions to Irish Judo in the future.”

Thank you, Ben, for your contribution to the Irish Judo Association, and to Irish sport, and we wish you the absolute best of luck in your future endeavours.