Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell are four-time World Champions in the Paralympic SKUD 18 sailing class.
Helm Rickham is a tetraplegic following a diving accident in 1995. She first sailed competitively as a student. Crew Birrell was born with cerebral palsy. He began sailing aged nine and competed with his brother, before joining the Paralympic Development Squad in 2007. Birrell was teamed up with Rickham to compete in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. They competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games winning bronze medals in the Two-person Keelboat (SKUD18).
‘Ours was an arranged marriage. The Paralympic Development Squad was looking for women, and put Niki and I together in 2007. We won the 2008 test event and then bombed in Beijing. We worked harder, we have to be that much better.’ Alexandra Rickham