Niki made his second Games appearance at London 2012, where he and sailing partner Alexandra Rickham won bronze in the SKUD 18. The pair have won five World Championship titles in the class.
Prior to switching into the Paralympic classes, he enjoyed significant success in sailing with his brother. Their achievements included qualifying for the 420 Worlds and 470 Worlds and securing the title of European Junior Mirror champions, before Niki began competing in the 2.4mR, and then the SKUD 18.
At London 2012, Birrell and Rickham, who finished 5th in Beijing, entered the competition as world champions. After several days of highly competitive racing, they were awarded the bronze medal after poor conditions on the final day of competition denied the duo the chance to race for silver.
In addition to the gold medal that Helena Lucas won in the 2,4mR, the achievement of the Birrell and Rickham helped ParalympicsGB to secure their most successful performance in sailing at a Paralympic Games since the event was formally introduced to the programme in 2000.
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