NATHAN Burns admitted a ‘split second’ error denied him the chance of the British Judo Championship gold medal he craved.

The 23-year-old from Blackburn has been a seven-time silver medal winner but believed this was the year to break his duck.

And it all started brightly for the former Our Lady and St John High School pupil, winning four of his five pool bouts by ippon – including victory over the eventual winner Christopher Waddle.

In the final pool, Burns beat Waddle again and was moments away from beating his old rival Colin Oates but in a dramatic late twist, Oates won by ippon. Waddle went on to win gold with Oates silver and Burns and Lewis Keeble the bronze.

“I’m gutted because I really thought the gold medal was there to be won,” said Burns.

“Everything had gone so well for me in the pool and I felt like I was on top form.

“But this is what judo is like, everything can change in an instant and in a split second my chance of gold was gone.”

However, Bacup’s Sophie Cox won gold after she bounced back from defeat to Nekoda Davis to win the 57kg category.

She took the title thanks to victories over eventual silver medallist Connie Ramsey and Nicola Haywood who took bronze alongside Nekoda Davis.

She said: “Every fight was a good test, I was happy with how I fought and while my performances keep up I’ll keep competing and I’m targeting the big competitions this year.”