Olympian Euan Burton joins Glasgow European Open line-up

Scottish Judoka Euan Burton has been confirmed as one of the four self-funding athletes joining the official line up of judoka representing Great Britain at the European Open in Glasgow in ten days time.

Two-time world bronze medallist Euan Burton made history when he became the first non-Asian to win the Tokyo Grand Slam in 2010 by defeating South Korea’s reigning Olympic Champion Kim Jae-Bum by ippon.

The Edinburgh-based judoka also took bronze at the IJF World Masters in 2012 as he defeated 2009 world champion and Olympic number six seed Ivan Nifontov of Russia.

However, Burton’s own Olympic bid ended early, while his then girlfriend, now wife Gemma Gibbons went on to capture an Olympic silver medal and since London 2012, Burton has since focused on developing future talent for Judo Scotland.

Recently, aged 34-and-a-half he became the second oldest man to win a European Cup judo title, striking gold at -100kg in Belgrade after clinching all four of his fights.

Now he is entering the European Open in preparation for the Commonwealth Games next year, also being held in Glasgow.

“I am exploring the possibility of competing at 100kg in the Commonwealth Games next year,” he said.

“As part of that process I am going to fight in Glasgow at the European Open in that division.

“I’m still dipping my toe in the water so to speak and I don’t have any huge expectation regarding results, but I will be interested to see how I fare at this division – almost 20kg above my former weight category.

“I will be giving a huge amount of weight away to these big boys but that’s part of the excitement and challenge.”

The competition itself, he said will give the people of Glasgow and Scotland the chance to experience elite level judo on their doorsteps less than a year out from the Commonwealth Games. For Scottish judoka involved it will be an invaluable experience with the athletes getting a chance to experience a home crowd similar to the one they will have for the Games in 2014.

“The Glasgow European Open is going to be a fantastic event for Glasgow, for Scotland and for the whole of British Judo, so I am proud to take part in it,” he added.

“I am sure it will be a great event for Glasgow and for Judo in Scotland and hope that the judo on display inspires people to watch more in the future.

“For British Judo it will offer a chance to build a British judo journey in Glasgow that will include next year’s Commonwealth Games and the European Championships in 2015.”

Meanwhile, Frazer Chamberlain, Theo Spalding McIntosh (both -90kg) and Adam Hall (-100kg) are also self funding at the event, which will be one of the biggest judo tournament’s Scotland has seen.

Chamberlain recently took bronze in the European Cup of Bratislava, adding to his other personal bests at the British Open (fifth) and his silver success in the English Senior Open. Before this he enjoyed success as part of the GB junior team with a silver in the Junior Italian Open.

Spalding-McIntosh has enjoyed success at home and abroad in various international tournaments. Among his biggest results is a bronze at the British Championships earlier in 2013 which he took in the men’s -100kg. He also counts a European Cup bronze medal among his achievements. Now he has moved down a weight category, back to -90kg, the same weight that he placed seventh at during the European Championships for U23s in Sarajevo three years back, he hopes to perform well. He also gained gold at the Heart of England earlier.

Hall has participated in a few international tournaments this year achieving silver in the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast and bronze in the English Senior Open and Barcelona International tournament.

However, his best results include polishing off two silver finishes at the Sarajevo European Cup and the Malaga European Cup of 2011/2012 respectively. He also won gold in the Scottish Open of 2011.

These judoka join the full line up also comprising of Colin Oates, Nathon Burns, Lewis Keeble (all -66kg), Jan Gosiewski, Patrick Dawson, Danny Williams (all -73kg), Tom Reed (-81kg), Michael Horley, Matthew Purssey, James Austin and Ben Fletcher (-100kg) and Chris Sherrington (+100kg).

Dont miss out on the action.

Day tickets are available for £15 or £20 for the weekend with concessions half price.
You can purchase tickets from the Glasgow Life box office via the British Judo website -www.britishjudo.org.uk/glasgow2013 or by calling 0141 353 8000.

Words by Donna Richardson. Photo -Burton’s gold sweep in Belgrade, courtesy of Mario Krvavac @EJU.