How many sports champions do you know who are not only still competing 50 years on, but still winning?
Fylde coast resident Ian Dibdin has achieved the unthinkable – winning the British Sand Yachting Championship five decades on from his first triumph.
The 69-year-old, of Common Edge Road, Marton, won the Mini class event at Redcar near Middlesbrough last weekend.
Ian, a previous British champion in 1964, 1965, 1971 and 1997, said: “I knew I was in with a good chance of doing it and wanted to prove after 50 years I could still hold my own against other sand yachters.
“We sailed on Sunday and had four races and I had three firsts and a second.
“There was about six other competitors in my class, including one who won an international regatta – he was my main rival. Many of the riders were in their 20s and 30s. It was a great feeling to win 50 years on from my first triumph.”
Ian said as part of the event at Redcar the four races lasted 15 minutes each.
Riders were given a two minute countdown, before racing around three markers and passing the finish line.
Ian, who keeps fit with salsa dancing and skating, got into the sport at St Annes Sand Yachting Club, set up by his father Eddie Dibdin in 1952.
He has competed in various classes and even helped to send sand yacht designs to clubs in New Zealand.
But despite his vast success, his great hope is to enjoy sand yachting on St Annes Beach again.
The sport was banned by Fylde Council in 2003 after a tragic accident when a woman was struck by a racer and died.
It was hoped a temporary licence would see sand yachting return last year, but the deal fell through, much to Ian’s disappointment.
He added: “It seems daft I live near one of the best sand yachting beaches in the country but can’t use it.
“We need more youngsters in the sport. I want to get schools involved too.
“We’ve put prosposals forward to the council to re-start the sport on the beach but it isn’t easy.”
Ian said he does not plan to compete in the World Championships later this year, but hoped to travel to Europe for the European Championships, held in either France or Belgium next year.