Euan Burton: Coach driven to promote Scottish judo

Euan Burton
Burton has been a high performance coach for JudoScotland since ending his career on a high

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Euan Burton wants judo to become "an important sport to Scotland".

The 37-year-old was Scotland's flag bearer for Glasgow 2014, retiring afterwards to focus on coaching.

"We are a recognised part of the performance landscape," Burton told BBC Scotland.

"But there is a huge amount judo can do for you whether you want to be a performance athlete or if you want to do it recreationally."

In a bid to raise the profile of judo in Scotland, it has become one of 12 sports to join the Team Scotland Series, a new initiative that aims to promote Commonwealth Games sports.

Speaking at the Scottish Open Judo Championships in Edinburgh, Jon Doig, chief executive of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said the scheme aims to "show where all our athletes potentially can come from and that everyone is part of the Team Scotland family".

Burton, a two-time world bronze medallist, is also taking on the role of Scotland's general team manager at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 and maintains the initiative is a "good way for the Scottish public to get to know the athletes faces".

One familiar face returning to competition at the Scottish Open was Kimberley Renicks, who picked up a silver medal in the -52kg event after a long-term shoulder injury.

Kimberley Renicks at Glasgow 2014
Renicks, also a Glasgow 2014 gold medal winner, is fit again after a long-term injury

The event which lets established judoka compete against upcoming stars saw many of the athletes on the JudoScotland performance programme take to the mat, including Malin Wilson and Valentino Volante.

With judo excluded from the Gold Coast Games, JudoScotland is concentrating on developing young athletes, with Burton hoping they will benefit from having time to improve without chasing qualification.

"Scottish domestic championships are an important stepping stone towards the Commonwealth Games or potentially towards the Olympics Games but they are really performance events and you are judged whether you end up on the rostrum or don't. Anything between now and then is development," said Burton.

"Ultimately I'd like to see us raise the profile of judo in Scotland so that people can experience this fantastic sport".

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