Pic: Simon Crowther
Keith Atkinson has once more pulled off the UK Triple by taking the remaining two National Formula Windsurfing titles for the second year in succession.
With the completion of the UK 2007 Inland Windsurfing National series a week ago at Rutland Water and the National Cup series held at Clacton over the weekend the 9 times British Champion has become the 2007 British Formula Inland Champion and for the third consecutive year has also taken the overall ‘Blue Ribbon’ title of 2007 British Formula Windsurfing Champion. He adds these to the 2007 British Open Champion title gained at Bridlington earlier in the year. This year’s success makes Keith the most successful Formula sailor in the history of the British title for the Formula class.
Keith’s year started with him receiving the BBC’s prestigious Sports Personality of the Year award for water sports. He then started his racing season with a decisive win at Marazion in the South West Cup at Easter, this was followed by a second place in round two at Christchurch, just missing the number one slot by one point! It was then on to Bridlington for the 2007 British Open where he retained his title for a second year to become 2007 British Open Formula Champion.
Disaster struck at Tenby, in round four at the Welsh Cup, where he sustained a severe back injury forcing his retirement from the event. Three months of expert physio treatment ensued by Physioactive of Mottingham, his sports therapist. Although he failed to compete at the Inland event held at Derwent due to his injury and also failed to perform to his normal standard in the Eastbourne Cup event in July. The Whitwell event saw him back on top form dominating the Formula fleet with six out of six first places.
Interview with Keith Atkinson.
Describe your emotions when you found out that you’d won the British Championships again.
KA. I was over the moon. I was really happy from an achievement aspect, and also I was hoping all season that I could win which would help me promote the sport to local communities and schools etc. I will have far more kick being a British Champion than not being number 1.
You started the season well, but it was getting closer towards the end of the season, what happened?
I suffered from a back injury in Tenby, which carried forward until the penultimate cup event at Eastbourne. Luckily for me there was only one race at Tenby, but Eastbourne was a nightmare – I just had no power and combined with a few mistakes it had a negative affect on my results.
But you pulled it together by the end, talk us through it.
I spent a lot of time with my physio which helped my back problem hugely, combined with week in Lake Garda Training before the last of the British Championship series, this paid off well and gained a lot of strength and speed, as a result I went to Whitwell which was the last of the Inland Championships, won there which was enough points to secure the British Championships overall.
Whats the plan for the winter?
Just continuation of my on water training at home in Felixstowe, with a revised gym and nutrition schedule from Physioactive I plan to bulk up and gain a lot of strength in preparation for next season.
Do you plan to get into Slalom seriously for 08?
yes I would Like to start training for slalom this winter in preparation for the 08 season, I will continue with Formula though of course.
Whats the main goal for 08?
On the competitive side, to win another British title making it 10. On the promotional side, I want to encourage more and more people into the sport by creating recognition for Windsurfing by promoting at grass-root levels.
I would also like to thank all my sponsors including, Point7, Starboard, Next Generation, Marlow Ropes, Dakine and Physioactive, without their help my 2007 success would just not have been possible.