Sutton’s teenage sailing star eyes Americas Cup and Olympics as he bids to follow in Sir Ben Ainslie’s footsteps

Sutton sailing sensation Patrick Keech already has his sights set on emulating his hero Sir Ben Ainslie in winning both the Americas Cup and an Olympic gold medal.

The 17-year-old won youth European silver earlier this year in the 29er class, and with an intense summer of racing behind him is looking forward to another tough block of winter training.

Keech and Sutton Sailing Club team-mate Dan Venables have been making huge strides in 2015, and Keech was rewarded with a spot on the prestigious 2015 Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport programme.

But the ambitious youngster believes the sky’s the limit on how far he can go if he continues to work hard in the coming months.

“I won the British nationals this year and came second at the Europeans as well so it’s been a good year,” he said.

“The progression has been hard; I’m in the gym a lot more now than when I was seven, but there’s also a more competitive and a more mental side to it now. It’s far more intense.

“The season has finished this year so we go into winter training now. It’s a long slog until February when we come out for the first race of the season, so it’s just time at the gym and out of the boat work.

“I’d quite like to eventually be part of the Americas Cup team in future and definitely be involved in an Olympic Games – so Ben Ainslie or Blair Tuke are my biggest inspirations within the sport, and I’d love to get there one day.”

As part of the Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport, Keech experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity earlier this month as he attended a workshop hosted by former England captain Lewis Moody ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Keech is in world class-company on the programme, with the likes of Jade Jones, who won gold at the Olympic Games in 2012 in London in taekwondo, one of the first recipients of an Academy of Sport bursary back in 2010.

He added: “The Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport has been really good to me.

“They teach you about all the marginal stuff which you need to become a better athlete, and the nutritional side is so helpful in helping me see where I can improve.

“It’s interesting to see how other sports work, and how the further up you get the more training you get.”

Patrick Keech attended the Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport workshop, mentored by ambassadors Lewis Moody and Maggie Alphonsi and SportsAid patrons Danny Crates, Bryan Steel and Kerri-Ann Payne. For more information visit

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