PANGBOURNE’S Daniel Atkins has been nominated for SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award after becoming world and European champion in a stunning year on the water.

The 18-year-old missed out on selection last year, but dominated at the European Junior championships in the K1 Men’s 200m to win his first major individual title.

A month later and Atkins became the latest British canoe sprint world champion, powering his way to gold in the same event in Romania.

Adding to his accolades, Atkins has now been nominated for SportsAid’s One-to-Watch awards, shortlisted in the top 10 from a raft of 1,000 young athletes supported by the charity across 60 sports.

The award was launched in 2006 to shine a spotlight on the outstanding achievements of Britain’s brightest young prospects, with Tom Daley, Courtney Tulloch, Amber Hill and Morgan Lake among the former winners.

Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and five-time Paralympic para-equestrian champion Natasha Baker are among the panel of judges casting their eye over the nominees.

Alongside his kayaking career, Atkins has a stocks portfolio which enables him to focus outside of elite sport.

"It’s nice to come away from the sport and have something that’s completely different. Something you can spend your time on and learn about and you can get better at,” said Atkins, who is supported by the Thompson Trust through SportsAid.

"It’s another thing I can improve myself on and I love doing that, learning new things and finding out more in depth.

“I think it gives you a bit of a switch off from training if you can go away and concentrate on something else after training has finished.

"I got the SportsAid award two-to-three months ago which enabled me to buy paddles and a boat – the equipment I needed for racing in the coming season

"It’s been a massive support. At the moment I don’t have any other funding from my sport and sponsorship is quite hard to come by in kayaking.

“Training full-time meant having a job isn’t really something you can do, so it enabled me to train more comfortably and not really worry about money.”

Atkins was invited to train alongside Olympic champion Liam Heath and his coach Eric Farrell in April and being alongside the successful duo has given the kayaking star an insight into life at the elite level.

"That’s given me a massive understanding into what it actually takes,” the talented teenager added.

“It’s not just the Olympians – the people at the top are not just there because they’re naturally gifted, they do train extremely hard.

“It was that work ethic and confidence in yourself which I took through. I thought I need to know I can do this and know I can train this hard, it was something which I found helped me massively.

"It was almost a sense of relief after winning the worlds, I’d done all the work and I knew that, and racing was what I’d trained for so I wanted to see how fast I could go.

“It was more of a feeling of thinking I’ve actually done it and it was the nicest feeling, amazing to know that all of my hard work had paid off to what I had dreamt of."

The winner of SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will be revealed at the charity’s Celebrate the Next event, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, in London on Tuesday 19 November. Please visit for further information.