This week, the first atheletes to be selected for Team GB at the 2012 Paralympic games included our own Club member Alexander Rickham:
Rickham said: “It’s great to be selected, we’re really very happy and excited and looking forward to next year and putting in the hard work to try and ensure we get a medal this time around.
“The hard work is just about beginning – I’d say that everyone ramps up their campaigns and their preparations towards the big event, so we’ll be pushing harder than ever.
“A medal at London 2012 would make up for everything that happened in Beijing, and more! It was a big decision for Niki and I as to whether would continue after Beijing – we’d had such a short lead up to Beijing that we didn’t really owe each other anything. But there was unfinished business, so we did carry on, and we’re both determined to learn the lessons from before and perform at our home Games.
“Our recent World Championship win at Weymouth and Portland has definitely given us confidence for next year – not only for ourselves, but it was also important for the other teams to see we could lay it down at our home venue after a string of silvers at the Sail for Gold Regatta.
We showed at the right time at a major event that we could pull it out the bag and prove to the other teams that we can do it in the Games venue.”
Birrell added: “I’m personally delighted to have been given another chance at winning a Paralympic medal by the selectors . Ever since the last race in China we’ve been doing all we can to win a medal in 2012 – preferably a gold one – and selection now helps us focus our efforts towards doing that. It’s a fantastic feeling, but the hard work hasn’t even started yet. We’re desperate to bring home a medal for the team.
“It’s fantastic to have won the Worlds at the Games venue, but we always have to move forwards. We can’t be sitting around and getting fat waiting for 12 month’s time. Our rivals will be doing to their best to catch us so we’re going to have to work hard to stay on top.
“It would mean everything to me to win gold next year. I’ve been sailing since I was nine years old, and full time for the last four years. Winning gold would be fantastic not just for me, but all the people who have helped us along the way. It would be perfect if it happens, but we’ve got 12 months of extensive work and dedication before then.”