CASTLE School teacher Megan Fletcher insists she picked the right time to have the best day of her career after winning judo gold at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, writes Ryan Walters.
The 24-year-old met Moira de Villiers of New Zealand in the -70kg final and sealed victory by ippon to leave her lost for words after an enthralling day of action.
Fletcher teaches geography at the Thornbury-based school and there was more for the town to celebrate with Sally Conway, who grew up there, taking the bronze medal in the same event.
Fletcher, who also worked at Chipping Sodbury School while doing her PGCE last year, took to the mat on Friday knowing only her best would suffice if she was to be crowned Commonwealth Games champion.
Victory over Alix Renaud-Roy of Canada in the quarter-finals set up a mouth-watering home nation semi-final with Scotland’s Conway – the British number one and world number five.
But Fletcher wasn’t fazed by the home support at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre and pinned her opponent down to propel her into the gold medal bout.
“That was absolutely amazing – I beat the British number one in the semi-final and that was an amazing performance and I was so emotional after that,” she said.
“But to win gold as well, I don't think I've had a better day ever. I couldn’t think of anywhere better to beat Sally [Conway]. In the final minutes I was just thinking about keeping my concentration and keep the pressure on her.
"It's not really sunk in and the day was a bit of a blur and I just feel so happy to have a gold medal in my hands.
“My preparations have been fantastic and it's really paid off. Gold was my target, I knew I had a tough draw but I always had confidence.”
Fletcher suffered a nasty-looking injury to her nose during her bout with Conway but she didn’t let that put her off, donning a makeshift bandage across her face to fight on and win.
And she admitted there was no way she was going to have her dream of Commonwealth gold taken away from her by what she described as ‘a stupid little scratch’.
“My injury didn’t unsettle me but it’s really annoying having something around your nose,” she added.
“I had to have it on though because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to fight and they would’ve taken me off the mat. It was just a stupid little scratch as well.”
Top seed Conway beat Tashkent Grand Prix medallist Sunibala Huidrom of India on shidos in the bronze medal match.
* Commonwealth Games England (CGE) leads and manages the participation of the Team England at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. They work with sports, Sponsors and Sport England to support the development of athletes and their sports, and to achieve success at Games-time.