LOCAL skating David Richardson has missed out on a finals place in the European Championships by less than one point.
The 23-year-old claimed gold at the British Figure Skating Championships last November before being selected to represent Britain in the European Figure Skating Championships in Bern, Switzerland.
Speaking before heading to the event, Richardson said: “I am absolutely delighted at being selected to represent the country at the European Championships.
“It’s an honour to represent your country anytime and to do it as British champion is amazing. I can’t wait to compete against Europe’s elite.”
In the championships, David needed to be in the top 11 after his first skate in order to progress to the final stages of the competition.
He performed his long routine to Handel’s Sarabande, but despite a clean and solid skate which received no deductions, Richardson only received 91.59 points by the European panel, meaning that he finally slotted into 12th place – missing out on the finals by 0.9 points.
In a frank interview, he said: “I knew I had performed well and skated clean so I was a little disappointed with the marks, but this was nothing compared to the numbness I felt when I realised that I hadn’t reached the latter stages of the competition.
“I never want to experience that feeling again. I just wanted to get through to the final and so played it safe focusing on quality rather than quantity.
“On this occasion it didn’t work, but I have gained an incredible experience in my first major international championships and having watched the competition from the stands was painful but I know I am capable of gaining an elite placing and putting British Men’s skating on the World map once again.”
Richardson, who enjoyed a successful year last year on the international stage, remaining the most successful British skater on the international ice for two years, added: “The judges liked my long routine and it was such a shame that I couldn’t perform in my short programme as I’m sure they and the crowd would have loved it.”
Richardson, who learnt to skate at Whitley Bay Ice Rink, now awaits a decision from the National Ice Skating Association (NISA) on whether he will be selected to attend the World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, next month.
He said: “I’m hopeful, I gained a lot of experience at Europeans and to travel to Japan for the Worlds would undoubtedly give me more.”
“The key is to get noticed more on the international scene so the judges get more of a chance to acknowledge my skating.”
Coach Joy Sutcliffe believes David can become a firmly established international skater.
“After winning the British Championships we went back in to training and worked on quality of elements within David’s routine,” she said.
“David has performed increasingly well this season and this has been a blow but he has learned from the whole experience and is only 23.
“There are certain areas we will go and work on and this will help David to develop further and build his confidence and self-belief.”