David gears up for home skate after losing title

NORTH east ice star David Richardson endured a nightmare skate at this year’s British Figure Skating Championships, losing the title he won last year.

The 24-year-old, who learnt to skate at Whitley Bay Ice Rink, went into the Championships on the back of winning gold in the Welsh Championships and finishing in a respectable 20th in the International Cup in Nice.

Richardson was first to skate in the short programme, gaining 47.39 points which put him second place at the end of the competition’s first stage.

But his longer programme, to a selection of instrumentals, never really took off and a couple of slip-ups left him with 77.03 points and a total of 124.42 – a long way off his personal best and last year’s tally of 161.14 – which left him in sixth overall.

Richardson, from Newcastle, said: “I was confident that I could perform to a high standard and believed that I could be returning home with the trophy but when I started skating the usual feeling wasn’t there.

“I felt over cooked and almost too focused. Maybe I wanted it too much, who knows?

“It was the worst feeling ever and I never want to experience that again.

“I knew that I’d blown it because I just couldn’t get the jumps out and there’s no-one else to blame but myself.”

He added: “My normal preparation routine was changed slightly before my long and I found, at a big cost, this was detrimental to me and I’ll now sit down with the coaches and determine the way forward.

“I’m determined to learn from this and move on.

“I’m devastated at my performance and disappointed at my loss but I must congratulate the winner – Jason Thompson.

Coach Joy Sutcliffe, who trains Richardson at Nottingham’s National Ice Arena, said: “Although it wasn’t David’s best skate, it wasn’t a too bad a performance when we look at the individual marks given – his intricate step sequence receiving high marks – and if he’d landed the jumps he would have won by a huge margin.

“It’s all ifs and buts though; and what’s important now is to sit with David and iron out these mistakes and put in place a plan that he is comfortable with to ensure there are no more bad days in the office.”

Richardson is waiting to find out if he has been selected to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in January in Sheffield.

He will perform at Whitley Bay Ice Rink on Saturday, December 17, as a special guest in their Christmas show.

“I thank those from the north east who came to the British championships and showed me their support and it will be great to perform back at Whitley Bay in front of a home crowd,” said Richardson.