A disparity in age, experience and physical ability is no barrier to Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell forming a successful partnership in the Paralympic SKUD 18 class. Matthew Sheahan finds out how they tick

Alexandra Rickham

Early ambitions – “After my accident it appeared to me that disabled people didn’t work and went into sport. Even though I had always been into a variety of sports, I was concerned about not getting a job and it made me work on my studies”

How it all started – “After graduating I ended up taking another gap year in which I did some volunteer work and also some work for BP. I then went to Imperial College to do an Environmental Technology Masters degree.While I was there I sailed a few times and was introduced to sailing a Skud 18.

Best/worst quality – “I’m a hard worker and dedicated, but I guess my worst quality would be my temper”

Hobbies and interests? – “I feel like I’ve lost a good few of them although I’m a big music fan and enjoy going to gigs. I like museums, exhibitions and the arts. I also enjoy skiing and swimming”

How do you relax? – “I’m trying to re- establish the balance this year which is why I’m living away from Weymouth. I need to be able to close the door on sailing sometimes”

What picks you up when you’re down? – “I’m a talker and a sharer and I rely on friends and family to help pick me up”

Non-sailing ambition – “To make a difference somewhere”

What’s your plan ‘B’? – “To go back to environmental side of life”

Pet hate – Small-minded people

Sporting hero – Denise Lewis

Position on boat – Helm

First class sailed – Sunfish

Favourite sailing venue – Weymouth

Favourite regatta – Olympic Classes Regatta, Miami

Favourite boat – Skud 18

Current car – Ford Focus

Dream car
– Maserati

Personal favourites
Band – Wakey Wakey
BookPride and Prejudice
Non-sailing item – iPhone
iPhone app – Remote Mouse. “I like to be able to move things”
iPod top 3 most played
Gabriel – Joe Goddard
No Problem – Chase and Status
Ten Commandments – Prince Buster

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Alexandra Rickham
  3. 3. Niki Birrell
Page 2 of 3 - Show Full List