Olympics: Scots Judoka Euan Burton aims to realise Olympic dream
EUAN Burton is confident he can turn his visions of Olympic glory into something more solid when Britain’s best chance of a judo medal takes to the mat next month.
The 33-year-old is a two-time World Championship bronze medallist and has claimed a host of other honours during his career, but admits it is the medal missing from his collection that haunts his slumbers. “I see myself topping the podium in my dreams every night, and that’s the plan,” admitted the Edinburgh-based athlete, who has just returned from a three-week training stint in Japan and Korea.
“It was pretty hard preparation out there but it’s good work put in the bank for the Games, and I’m starting to feel fresh and sharp.”
Burton has tasted Olympic disappointment before, finishing seventh in the -81kg category at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But he is adamant he is a more consistent and self-assured fighter now, and has nobody to fear.
“When I was fighting at world level before Beijing perhaps that confidence that I could beat everybody wasn’t there,” added Burton, speaking at the Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week event at Larbert High School, in Falkirk, where he took part in an Olympic-themed celebration of sport with hundreds of primary and secondary school-age youngsters.
“But I’m confident that I can beat everyone in my weight category, and if I do that I’ll become Olympic champion. All these guys have qualified in their own right and they’re all world class athletes so my biggest challenge will be the first round.
“My category is bang in the middle of the weights and probably the most competitive in terms of strength in depth, so each round will be a final.”
Part of the judo star’s self-belief comes from the state-of-the-art training facilities he enjoys in Edinburgh, but he also paid tribute to his coach Billy Cusack. “In judo I believe it’s all about the people,” said Burton, who claimed his black belt aged just 16. “People like Billy Cusack – he’s a fantastic coach and his records and what he has achieved over the years is a testament to that. The fantastic support we get is second to none, but no one is resting on their laurels – we still haven’t got an Olympic champion but when we do, the next step will be to get two and then make the whole squad gold medallists.”
lBank of Scotland National School Sport Week took place from 11-15 June 2012 and is Scotland’s biggest school sport event with nearly 2,000 schools and half a million pupils taking part, staging their own Games. Find out more at www.schoolsportweekscotland.org
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