By Mike Rowbottom

Euan_Burton_Jan_17January 17 - Euan Burton, bronze medallist in the under-81kg category at the World Judo Championships last October, has confirmed his place in the sport's elite by taking another bronze at the World Masters against a field brimming with continental, world and Olympic champions.

The 30-year-old Scot, currently number five in the world rankings, had a bye in the first round of the two-day challenge event in Baku, Azerbaijan, which features the top 16 judoka in the world in each weight category.

That led to a meeting with the United States national champion Travis Stevens, who had beaten the reigning world champion, Masahiro Takamatsu, in the opening round.

In previous meetings Burton had the measure of the American, winning both contests, and he promptly registered his third win over Stevens by way of ippon.

Burton, who trains at Judo Scotland's National Training Centre in Ratho, Edinburgh, advanced to a semi-final against Azerbaijan's 2008 Olympic gold medallist Elnur Mammadli, who infamously won the Beijing final in 13 seconds.

The 2006 European champion, widely regarded as one of the sport's finest judoka, forced an ippon victory with a minute remaining in the contest, which saw Burton claim a bronze medal as the star-laden event does not use a repechage system.

Burton scored 160 world ranking points for the bronze medal as he continues to be one of the sport's most consistent performers.

Crowd favourite Mammadli went on to defeat the 2010 world championship runner-up Leandro Guilheiro from Brazil in the final.

Burton commented: "It's good to be on the rostrum again, especially at one of the top events in the world.

"It was a very close match against Elnur Mammadli, and I felt a leg grab [illegal move].

"But there was a huge Azerbaijani crowd there and it wasn't given, so I am a little disappointed as I was aiming for the full 400 points that comes with the gold medal.

"It is a packed event, with the top judoka in the world - you really are fighting the best of the best.

"There are no easy draws at this event and even though you don't get many matches, it's a fantastic event to be a part of."

Burton's coach, Billy Cusack, added: "It was another professional display from Euan - his semi-final contest was very controversial as Mammadli used leg grabs and should have been disqualified.

"Aside from that there was a fantastic atmosphere - it was a great event and the contests were so good you wanted to see all of them."

Burton's training partner Sarah Adlington received a late invitation to participate in the over-78kg category and lined up against three-time Asian champion and reigning world champion Mika Sugimoto from Japan in the opening round.

Adlington lost by ippon as Sugimoto went to on take the silver medal after being overcome by compatriot and 2010 world championship bronze medallist Megumi Tachimoto in the final.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
December 2010: Burton bags bronze to cap consistent year
September 2010: Burton hopes World Championship bronze is step towards London 2012 gold
April 2010: Burton takes third European judo bronze
December 2009: Burton pulls off great victory in Tokyo