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Paralympic Sailing Launches on Portland

Sailing Academy

8:50am 1st September 2012

The Paralympic Sailing events are underway on the waters of Portland.

It's the first day of competition for Team GB athletes who're hotly tipped for medal glory.

3 race classes start proceedings with a mixed crew of men and women, the 2.4 metre, Skud 18 and Sonar.

Helena Lucas helms the women’s 2.4m class. She was born with no thumbs and limited extension in her arms. She claimed her first Paralympic silver medal in Australia in 2006.

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell make up the pair sailing the Skud 18, which is similar to the Olympic 49er race. Rickham, who is a C5/6 tetraplegia, was first introduced to sailing while rehabbing from a diving accident which left her in a wheelchair in 1995. Birrell has cerebral palsy and previously campaigned in the 470 class with his brother.

John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas are the trio who make up the Sonar crew. It's the teams 3rd successive Paralympics. John, paralysed from the chest down as a result of a motorbike accident in 1994, teamed up with Hannah - who was born without a right arm -  in 2003 before Steve a double elbow and knee amputee having contracted meningitis in 1996, was spotted working out in a gym and invited to try sailing.

Brief Holder for Social Inclusion at Weymouth and Portland Borough Kate Wheller says spectators are in for a treat and there are plenty of places to watch the action from ... For free! Click below to hear more.


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