Richardson set for British defence
Figure skater David Richardson has set his sights on claiming back-to-back British men's titles this week as he bids to secure himself a jet-setting 2012 season.
Richardson took the domestic crown in Sheffield last year and, despite some unwanted recent equipment issues, will look to defend his title back in the Steel City.
However domestic pride is not the only thing at stake for Richardson in South Yorkshire with places for January's European Championships also up for grabs.
Only victory will guarantee Richardson a spot at the continental showdown also in Sheffield - a competition the 24-year-old is desperate to make another short trip north for.
"The national championships are extremely important to me and I want to go there and put in a really good performance," said Richardson - who benefits from the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes scheme.
"Because of the way qualifying works for the European Championships the nationals are really important to me so I really want to win to ensure I qualify for those.
"It is always nice to go to the nationals and my goals for the season are to make sure I go there and retain my title.
"The season has started a little bit slowly but I have just gone into new skates which broke a week or so before the first international competition.
"It sounds silly but we just put tape around it. I've had them on just over a week now and it was pretty painful at first but all is good now."
While domestically Richardson has fond memories of last season, he beat reigning two-time champion Matthew Parr to gold, on the European stage the recollections are not quite as rosy.
Earlier this year in Switzerland the 24-year-old failed to make it beyond the preliminaries as his week ended in abrupt fashion.
However having produced a more encouraging display at April's rescheduled World Championships in Moscow, Richardson is hopeful 2012 can be a breakthrough year.
"It was the first time I had competed at the World Championships earlier this year so I was pleased with how I went," added Richardson.
"I didn't do so well at the European Championships before that so it was good to perform better at the worlds."