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Warrington's Paralympic sailor sits in silver medal position at the half-way stage
9:39am Tuesday 4th September 2012 in Sport
WARRINGTON'S Paralympic sailor Niki Birrell and Two-Person Keelboat crewmate Alexandra Rickham are poised to fight it out for gold as they enter the second half of their London 2012 campaign.
After six races of the scheduled 11, Birrell and Rickham sit just one point behind the Australian leaders Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch in silver medal position, with a point advantage over US pair Jen French and J-P Creignou.
The pair, who have won the last four World Championships, have prided themselves on consistency across all conditions in recent years, something that definitely helped yesterday, Monday, as a light fluky breeze provided the sailors with a double test – keeping the boat moving fast while contending with big swings in wind direction.
“Over the last couple of years consistency has been our strength,” said Rickham, from Epson in Surrey.
“We like regattas where we get a mix of conditions because where other boats may excel in certain conditions we try to keep it going steadily in all of them.
"We enjoy a bit of a play in light winds and it served us well today.”
Former Lymm High School pupil Birrell added: “A lot can go right and wrong but it’s vital that we stay within a point of the leaders because we don’t want to be starting Thursday any more than a point behind.
"We need to keep it in our own hands until then and if we can do that we will be happy.
“We have done four years of continuous hard work so we are not going to change anything now.
"There is a lot of concentration needed but winning is definitely possible and while it is possible I’ll still have a smile on my face.”
Birrell and Rickham will continue their bid for Paralympic gold at the London 2012 course at Weymouth and Portland in race seven at 11am, and again in race eight at 12.30pm.