WOKINGHAM judoka Ben Fletcher continued his preparations for next month’s World Championships by winning a bronze medal at the European Open in Minsk, Belarus.

It was a third podium finish of 2017 for the MJ Church ambassador, following up on his bronze at the Rome European Open and silver at last month’s Cancun Grand Prix in Mexico.

Fletcher, coached by Juergen Klinger at the University of Bath Sports Training Village, overcame Sweden’s Emil Mattsson, Russia’s Mikhail Kosyashnikov and Lasha Taveluri of Georgia to reach the semi-finals of the men’s-100kg weight division.

Michael Korrel of the Netherlands, currently ranked number two in the world, ended his winning run, but Fletcher responded brilliantly to beat number-four ranked Elmar Gasimov of Azerbaijan and claim the bronze medal.

“A bronze medal but more importantly a really good performance beating some top players,” said Fletcher, who has stayed on in Belarus for a four-day training camp.

“I’m really happy as I fought really well and also I am currently preparing for the World Championships so I feel like there is a lot more to add to my performance.”