The team at MDL Marinas recently welcomed back the British Sailing Team’s Paralympians, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell, who returned to their home marina on the Hamble after winning bronze at this year’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
After months of training at Hamble Point Marina, the duo ended their Rio 2016 Paralympic sailing regatta on a high, taking the Skud-18 bronze medal on the final day of racing in Guanabara Bay. Clinching the podium position in their class, the duo enjoyed a great start from the port end of the line on the Pão de Açúcar course to lead up the first beat and head round the windward mark, finally crossing the line still in third place.
In the run up to the games, the athletes enjoyed free berthing for their Skud-18 racing sailing boats at MDL’s Hamble Point Marina throughout their training, giving them essential access to the waters of the Solent ahead of the games. A hub for competitive racing in the Solent, Hamble Point Marina is the ideal location for the team to train in their bid for Rio with the marina team also on hand to lift the boats out of the water and re-launch them whenever required as a complimentary service.
Commenting on their Olympic success Alexandra, said: ‘It was an exhilarating race. We started at the Starboard end and were in silver position for most of the course with the Polish team leading. We lost our position on the final leg due to difficult condition but are still delighted to have come back from the games with bronze. We are very grateful for MDL’s support on our road to Rio, the training in the Solent stood us in great stead for the challenges that we faced when sailing in Brazil. To have everyone at MDL Marinas and Hamble Point supporting our dream means the world to Niki and I.”
Nick Birrell continued: “To have two Paralympic medals from London 2012 and this year’s Rio games is just surreal. They don’t come easy and I’d like to thank everyone who has ever helped us in our SKUD programme. Thank you so, so much. We came for gold but we’re super happy with silver because we’ve had to fight so hard in our boat for every metre and every position.”
Nic Parton, Marina Manager, said: “We are really proud of Alex and Niki’s success in Rio and it is great to have supported their training and bid for a podium finish at the games! These inspiring and skilled athletes played a big part in the British Paralympic effort in Rio 2016, and it’s been brilliant to host these sailing stars.”