Glasgow European Open judo: Stuart McWatt wins debut bronze

Stuart McWatt is on top against Antonio Ciano
Stuart McWatt is on top against Antonio Ciano in their under-81kg contest

Inverurie teenager Stuart McWatt is looking to build on winning a bronze medal at the Glasgow European Open, his first senior ranking tournament.

The 18-year-old lost his semi-final against Commonwealth champion and eventual winner Owen Livesey.

"It was great to come in to a senior competition and manage a medal," McWatt said of the under-81kg category event.

"It is my first World Cup medal, so I'm pleased, and the first time I have been exposed to a high level of senior."

McWatt practises on the mats with Livesey and was frustrated that he could not get the better of his English opponent.

Glasgow's Andrew Burns battles with Dax Biesbrouck
Glasgow's Andrew Burns (right) battles with Dax Biesbrouck at the Emirates

"I fight him in training quite a bit," he told BBC Sport. "I know I can throw him.

"Getting a performance here wasn't the main goal. It was just to come and get some experience.

"Now I've got a bronze medal here, hopefully it will open up some pathways in the senior competitions, but I've still got another two years in junior competitions, so it's not too important."

Glasgow boys

British judoka won eight medals at the Emirates Arena.

Although Glasgow's Neil MacDonald was not among those, coach Euan Burton was pleased to see him and McWatt perform well as they build towards their long-term Olympics goals.

"Neil and Stuart are down at the British Judo centre of excellence," he said.

"They are guys who are already doing big things on the international scene at cadets and juniors. Stuart proved he can do it not just at the cadets and junior level but at the senior level.

Neil MacDonald
Neil MacDonald trains at the British Judo Centre of Excellence in Walsall

"Rio is definitely going to be too soon for those guys. Both of those guys want to be Junior European and Junior World champions and they've got a couple of years left to do that.

"I'm pretty sure at the back of their minds they have Tokyo and they would like to be British Olympic medallists on the podium at the home of judo."

Commonwealth player Andrew Burns also won bronze in Glasgow, in the under-90kg category, as he tries to clinch a Team GB place for the Rio Olympics.

He was a reserve for the British team at the Beijing Games and missed out on London four years later because of injury.

"I like fighting in my home city," he said. "Glasgow is always good for me.

"The top 22 in the world qualify [for Rio] and it has probably put me just inside. It doesn't mean I'm going to stay there, but hopefully more success will solidify that.

"I feel I am good enough to go to an Olympic Games and I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure I'm there."

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