Burton is Scottish flagbearer

  • Last Updated: July 21 2014, 17:33 BST

Judo's Euan Burton has been named as the flag bearer who will lead Team Scotland into the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

Euan Burton proudly displays the Scottish flag
Euan Burton proudly displays the Scottish flag

The 35-year-old was announced in the role at a team reception in host city Glasgow and presented with the all-important flag by Sir Chris Hoy, Scotland's greatest Olympian.

The multiple world and European medal-winning judoka, who was picked for the role by his fellow competitors, said he was "enormously proud" to be able to lead the Scottish team out at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.

"It's a huge honour and an absolute privilege to be able to lead your team out onto the field of play at any event, but for a home Commonwealth Games it's even more so," Burton said.

"I think it will be one of the most special days of my life. It's really just very humbling for me to be put forward and selected."

Burton, who also coaches at the national training centre at Ratho in Edinburgh, said it was a "surreal" experience to learn that he had been selected for the flag-bearing role.

"My first thought was that it could be a nerve-wracking experience, and obviously I was very excited," he said.

"I was at home with my wife (English judo player Gemma Gibbons), who was jumping around the place when she found out I was going to be carrying the flag in for Scotland."

Burton, who was born in Ascot, Berkshire, and lives in Edinburgh, confessed to having done some homework ahead of his starring role on Wednesday.

He said: "I remember walking in behind Chris Hoy in London and experiencing that spine-tingling moment when we entered the stadium.

"I probably shouldn't say this, but I've been on YouTube a couple of times just to relive the moment Chris walked out in front of us in 2012 to take a few tips from that."

Burton added: "I spoke to my strength and conditioning coach and asked him if I could borrow heavy weighted poles in the gym.

"He didn't know at the time I was going to be flag bearer, so when I asked for that I think he was a bit perplexed as to why I was bringing them home to do that extra training."

Burton already has two Olympics under his belt but he is set for his first Commonwealth Games, with judo returning to the programme for the first time since 2002.

He was, however, a reserve and training partner for Graeme Randall at the Manchester Games, when Randall went on to win a gold for Scotland.

He was selected from a final shortlist of four athletes - ahead of Linda Clement (hockey), Jennifer McIntosh (shooting) and Alex Marshall (lawn bowls), who will walk out immediately behind him as deputy flag bearers.

Burton said he viewed his selection as a sign of the popularity of his sport.

He added: "I think it's a recognition of how well thought of judo is in Scotland.

"All the other athletes have voted for someone who's a judo athlete to walk out in front of them.

"We don't get to be in the Commonwealth Games every single time but when we do, we perform, and I think that's one of the nicest things about it."

Presenting the flag this afternoon, Hoy said: "I've been a team-mate of Euan's over the years; he's a great ambassador for his sport and for Scotland, so it makes complete sense that he's been voted by his peers to carry the flag into the opening ceremony.

"I don't think there's a greater accolade than to be recognised by your peers because these are the guys who do the same thing as you; they know all about the hard work, the commitment, training and lifestyle that you have to adopt to become successful in your sport."

Team Scotland chef de mission Jon Doig, said: "Judo was our most successful sport at the Manchester Games with 10 medals and we are all looking forward to seeing them compete once again.

"Euan is a tremendous role model and the team will all be proud to follow him into the stadium for the opening ceremony."


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