By Mike Rowbottom 

April 23 - Euan Burton (pictured) won the third European bronze of his judo career today at the Championships taking place in Vienna - the first medal of the Championships so far for Great Britain.

Burton received a bye before winning his first fight against Arutyun Sarkisyan of Ukraine, after the Ukrainian was penalised three times for passivity.

Progressing to the quarter- final, the Scottish fighter faced Guillaume Elmont of the Netherlands.

After both players received penalty warnings, Burton pressed forward and was caught for ippon, losing the bout.

Fighting in the repechage, he faced Sergiu Toma of Moldova, an opponent that Burton lost to at the Paris Grand Slam last year.

But it was a different story in this re-match when Burton managed to maintain control of the fight to secure the win and go into bronze medal fight.

It was then down to the final fight against Antoine Jeannin of France for the bronze medal.

Burton held his opponent twice on the ground to score yuko and even up the score before throwing for ippon.

Immediately after stepping off the rostrum, Burton said: "Having come into the tournament to win and be European Champion it is disappointing not to be that. I am more relieved than delighted to get the bronze."

The 31-year-old has had a string of consistent performances recently winning gold at the Tokyo Grand Slam and silver at the German Grand Prix.

"I felt so good coming into the tournament," he said.

"I was in good condition and felt strong all the way through. 

"Going into the bronze medal fight I just didn’t want to give him a chance. 

"Fighting against the French is always going to be tough and never easy. 

"They are strong, technically sound and well prepared so I just had to go out hard."

Commenting on Euan’s performance, Head Coach Patrick Roux said: "It was clear that Euan has improved tactically from the work he has been doing at various training camps, with his coach Billy and with the BJPI (British Judo Performance Institute) staff.

"He demonstrated his dynamic judo techniques and won with a wonderful ippon in the bronze medal fight. I am positive that he will perform well in the near future."

Burton now has his sights set on the remaining major Championships of 2010 including the Moscow Grand Slam and the World Championships.

Taking a hard earned seventh place was Daniel Williams, who made his European debut and also celebrated his 21st birthday on the coach trip over to Vienna. 

Faith Pitman also finished in seventh place after losing her repechage fight against Claudia Ahrens of Germany, despite her positive start beating Hilde Drexler of Austria. 

Pitman was praised by Roux for the growth shown in these Championships and for "putting in a good performance and showing skill in her first two fights."

 "We are building a system for performance leading up to the 2012 London Olympics and beyond and we have to be ready on time.

"The players have demonstrated more effective judo today, which is encouraging," Roux added.

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