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Sailing (Paralympics)

Sailing Sailing was introduced as a demonstration sport at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games and became a full medal sport at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.  There are three sailing events and crews of three athletes compete aboard the 23 foot keelboats in the Sonar event.  The 2.4mR is a single-handed keelboat.  Both events are open to male and female competitors. There are slight modifications in equipment and a scoring system assigns points based on a level of disability, which allows athletes from different disability groups to compete together. SKUD-18 class: Alexandra Rickham (Epsom, Surrey) and Niki Birrell (Knutsford, Cheshire).  Sonar crew: John Robertson (Sunderland), Hannah Stodel (West Mersea, Essex) and Stephen Thomas (Bridgend, South Wales).  2.4m R one-person keelboat: Helena Lucas (Southampton).   Six disabled sailors have been named as part of the Paralympics GB team for the 2008 games in Beijing. The six are:

  • Alexandra Rickham (Epsom, Surrey - DOB 11 September 1981) and Niki Birrell (Knutsford, Cheshire - DOB 16 August 1986) in the SKUD-18 class - an inaugural competition.  At just 22, Niki is the youngest sailor in Team GB. Alexandra previously sailed the 470 and 2.4mR single handed keelboat. In their first competitive outing in the Miami Olympic Calsses Regatta  they finished fifth and then took a bronze at the US Disabled Regatta in March this year. Could they bring back a bronze ..... or better??
  • John Robertson (Sunderland - DOB 11 February 1972), Hannah Stodel (West Mersea, Essex - DOB 27 August 1985) and Stephen Thomas (Bridgend, South Wales - DOB 5 January 1977) make up the British Sonar crew.  This team brought home gold at the recent olympic test event. John has helmed back to back winners in the 2005 & 6 IFDS World Championships and Stephen represented GB at the 2006 Paralympics Winter Games as part of the Ice Sledge Hockey team.
  • Helena Lucas (Southampton) will be in 2.4m R one-person keelboat.   DOB 29 April 1975. Helena has sailed competitively in the Yngling and 470 classes and switch to the 2.4 MR in 2004. She won a silver medal in the 2006 IFDS World Championships and is a real medal contender for Beijing.
Sailing team manager Stephen Park said "These six sailors, although a mix of youth and experience when it comes to the Paralympic Games itself, are all proven performers at elite disabled sailing events on the world stage.  "They represent Great Britain's strongest chance of success in Qingdao in 2008 while at the same time building towards a successful home Games at Weymouth and Portland in 2012."    

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Published on: 2008-07-27 (4877 reads)

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