Burton 'gutted' for fans after exit

31 July 2012 / 16:44

British judo fighter Euan Burton admitted he was "gutted" for his supporters after crashing out of the Olympics, but maintains he did everything possible for a medal shot.

Burton, 33, had once been ranked as high as fourth in the under-81kgs weight division, but last year struggled to make an impact at either the European or World Championships. Nevertheless, the Edinburgh fighter was still one of Team GB's leading candidates to end a 12-year wait for an Olympic medal of any colour.

However, despite the boost of expected second-round opponent Elnur Mammadli of Azerbaijan, the reigning European champion who won Olympic gold at under-73kg in Beijing, losing his opening bout to Canadian Antoine Valois-Fortier, Burton then soon went the same way.

Valois-Fortier again produced the goods when it mattered, this time with an ippon throw to end Burton's Olympic dream before it had the chance to get going.

Burton, though, insisted he was fully prepared for the challenge he faced at a packed North Arena 2, full of expectant British supporters, including the Scotsman's family and friends.

"If I had come off the mat thinking 'you know what, these last couple of years I had not pushed myself as hard as I possibly could', then I probably would have been inconsolable and the rest of my life would have been a misery," said Burton, who also failed to reach the medal fights at the 2008 Olympics where he was mentored by Sir Clive Woodward.

He added: "I would have walked away knowing I had a chance to make something of myself, but I have done everything I possibly could.

"I am disappointed for myself, but more gutted for everybody else. I can live with the fact I put it all into training to be the best judo player ever, to try to be Olympic champion.

"But I feel really sorry for the people who have travelled here, I have a friend who came from Australia to see me fight. Those people like you and love you for who you are and what you try to achieve, not what you achieve.

"But it is an Olympics, it is not meant to be an easy tournament, you have the best players in the world, some of them make it through and equally they go out. The most disappointing thing is I knew I had a chance, but I just did not take it."