Britain's number one judoka proud to end career representing Scotland at the Games

Euan Burton has been Britain's number one judoka for a decade but he admits nothing will make him prouder than ending his career representing Scotland.

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Euan Burton
Euan Burton

The 35-year-old was born in Ascot, Berkshire, but raised in Edinburgh.

But despite spending his entire life north of the border, Glasgow 2014 will be the first time he has ever pulled on robes bearing the Saltire.

Burton is one of Team Scotland's brightest medal hopes and the former World Championships bronze medallist hopes to bring down the curtain on his career with a first-ever Commonwealth Games prize.

He told Press Association Sport: "I have never represented Scotland as a senior. Although I was number one in Britain for over 10 years, I only competed for Team GB.

"The last time I had the chance to compete for Scotland in Judo was in Manchester at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and I just missed out to Graham Randolph. I was his training partner and he went on to win it, so I had no complaints.

"If this had been another Team GB event I probably wouldn't have been going for it but because it was an opportunity to finish my career competing for Scotland and hopefully add to my medal tally, it was something I wanted to grasp."

Burton has twice won bronze medals at the World Championships - in 2007 and then again three years later - and has another three from the European Championships of 2005, 2007 and 2010.

But his dream of standing on the podium at the Olympics evaded him.

In Beijing in 2008, the former Edinburgh University student could muster just a seventh-place finish, while in London four years later, he failed to make it out of his group after losing his first match to eventual bronze-medallist Antoine Valois-Fortier of Canada.

But he admits the prospect of redemption offered by a home Games, where he will compete in the 81kg category, was too good to turn down.

"I have had a very long and successful career," said Burton, once ranked as high as fifth in the world but now concentrating on a new coaching role with JudoScotland. "I have been number one in Great Britain for over a decade - and almost no-one in Judo gets to say that. I have won numerous medals.

"London was my last Olympic Games and I was well aware of that. It was hugely disappointing but I have moved on from that and it is all part of the rich tapestry of a life in sport.

"The Olympics is the pinnacle of my sport. I had one opportunity in Beijing where I made the team and did reasonably well and finished seventh, which to some people is great but I was looking to be on top of the podium.

"In London I put myself in the position where I knew I had the capabilities to be top of the podium. But Judo is one of those sports where you do all the hard work to give yourself the chance and then you have to take the chance on the day - and I didn't take that chance on the day.

"Because I knew it was going to the final games that was why I didn't see any positives.

"It was the end of a chapter and immediately after that I started coaching with the Scottish team. I've been in the role as national coach for almost two years but I threw my hat back in the ring for one opportunity to compete for Scotland.

"I have been very proud of representing Britain but I also am very aware that Scottish Judo, the Scottish public and Judo Scotland have given me huge backing and I think it would be quite nice to repay that."

Scotland will have 14 judokas in action at Glasgow 2014 and Burton would not be surprised to see the team strut away clutching a haul of precious metal.

He said: "I am very confident in the team and for myself. I believe I can win the tournament.

"I think we should go in there confident. I am not going to say we are going to get 14 medals but if someone's turns round at the end of the Games and says you have 14 players and 14 of them have medals, I wouldn't be massively shocked."

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