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Page last updated at 19:37 GMT, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 20:37 UK

UK hat-trick at Disability World Championships

GB celebrate World sailing medal hat-trick

Britain's Paralympic sailors won medals in three classes at the Disability World Championships in the Netherlands.

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell fended off their American rivals to secure their second straight world title in the two-person SKUD class.

John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas took silver in the sonar class, and Megan Pascoe won 2.4mR bronze.

"Hopefully we can make it a triple when the Worlds are back at home next year," declared a thrilled Rickham.

"The last time we got to square up against the Americans, who are our main rivals, was in Miami six months ago.

"So to be able to come back with a win here couldn't be any better - and to do it at the Worlds obviously takes it to the next level."

Two-time world champions Robertson, Stodel and Thomas fought their way back from eighth in the sonar class earlier in the week to eventually manoeuvre into medal contention.

It looked like they had pulled off a last-gasp regatta victory on the final day but a protest between the Dutch and United States crews for an infringement during race nine went in favour of the Dutch, handing them the overall victory by one point over the Skandia Team GBR.

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell
Rickham (l) and Birrell beat crews from New Zealand, Australia and the US

"The start we had to the week was incredibly average," Robertson explained. "We had a bit of bad luck, but we kept pegging away, had a bit more self-belief."

"We knew we'd trained well and it proved in the end that we were stronger than we thought, so to get a podium spot here is great for the confidence."

Bronze medallist Pascoe, meanwhile, immediately targeted selection for London's 2012 Paralympic Games following her first podium finish at the championships.

"I think the biggest thing I'll take from here is that I've shown I can be in that top rank - I've definitely moved up a step and I now know that I can be in that top bunch," she explained.

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see also
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Disability Sport
Disability Sport on the BBC
02 Nov 09 |  Disability Sport
Rickham & Birrell win world gold
18 Oct 09 |  Disability Sport
Paralympic crews fail to sparkle
04 Feb 08 |  Disability Sport
Hannah hopes for gold
04 Sep 08 |  Norfolk
GB Paralympic team for Beijing
24 Jul 08 |  Disability Sport
Double medal success for Britain
30 Apr 07 |  Disability Sport

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