Reading’s Daniel Atkins has picked up the runner up prize at the prestigious SportsAid Celebrate the Next event.
Daniel, dominated the Junior K1M 200m Canoe Sprint event this year, undefeated at both the European and World Championships to claim double gold.
He was presented with the second place award in the One-to-Watch category by Dame Katherine Grainger, missing out to paraswimmer Ellie Challis for the top prize.
“Meeting Katherine Grainger was amazing – she’s done everything you can do in a sport and gone on to achieve all her goals and that’s inspiring,” said Daniel. “This gives me the confidence to go on and do exactly what I want to do. I’m being recognised for my efforts and that gives you a bit of grounding and allows you to realise you’re doing something substantial.”
This gives me the confidence to go on and do exactly what I want to do– Daniel Atkins
The One-to-Watch Award has gained a strong reputation for identifying the best up-and-coming prospects in Britain since its launch in 2006. Previous winners have already amassed 43 senior medals from Olympic and Paralympic Games, World and European Championships, as well as Commonwealth Games, to establish themselves as household names.
SportsAid alumna Katherine was delighted to be able to present the One-to-Watch Awards at the Celebrate the Next event and predicted a bright future for each of the top 10. Katherine is Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian having won one gold and four silver medals across Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. She is now the Chair of UK Sport.
“The One-to-Watch Award is fabulous because we get to have a look at what the future might hold,” said Katherine. “I’ve been on the judging panel a few times now and every year it’s so hard. We really struggle to make the decision – they are outstanding athletes who are as young as 13 and have already had international success.
“SportsAid is often the first hand to reach across that gap to say they believe in you and your future,” continued Katherine. “That confidence that SportsAid gives - and the extra support and recognition - makes a huge difference to the lives of young people at that point of their career. It is quite game-changing for those who have made the top 10.”
Celebrate the Next was attended by over 150 guests, including several Olympians and Paralympians who previously received SportsAid support, as the charity celebrated the achievements of young athletes throughout the last year while also raising funds to help support the next generation of British sport stars coming through.