May 22 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Fourth Paralympic Games gold for Londoner
David Weir completed a remarkable Paralympic campaign by winning his fourth gold medal from four events as he stormed to victory in the T54 men’s marathon.
And Shelly Woods followed him home in style with silver in the women’s race to claim Britain’s last medal of the London Games.
The host nation finished with 120 medals in total, including 34 golds, 43 silvers and 43 bronzes.
Londoner Weir, who had already collected golds in the 800m, 1500m and 5000m, rounded off his campaign a with a sprint finish along The Mall that left his opponents battling it out for silver and bronze.
Cheered on by a huge crowd, Weir came home in one hour 30 minutes and 20 seconds to beat Marcel Hug of Switzerland into second place by a second, with defending champion Kurt Fearnley of Australia taking bronze, also a second behind Weir.
“That was the toughest race I’ve ever raced in my life,” said Weir.
“I was absolutely dying in the first five miles. I didn’t think I’d manage to cope with the heat. I felt flat and I had to dig deep.
“I had an energy shot just to keep going. That was meant for about 16 miles, not the first five miles.
“They were all working together to try to stop me, but I’m used to that, I just do my own thing and race the best I can,” he added.
“The crowd were just awesome, I’ve never seen that before for the whole race. When I couldn’t feel my push rims, they were getting me through. My whole body was tingling.
“I knew on the final stretch I had to dig deep. I didn’t know where the finishing line was, so I carried on pushing. I didn’t know how close they were behind me.
“I sprinted as hard as I could. I thought I went too early, but my arms didn’t feel tired. I had a sneaky look back and there was a good two chair-lengths back.
“I knew I had lots and lots of top speed. I knew on the final stretch I had to keep doing what I do in Richmond Park with the cyclists when I do a mile in under three minutes.”
Weir said he was pleased to strike gold in all four of his events at London 2012.
“I trained for all four events, but you can’t train for the emotions. I didn’t know how my body would feel this morning. I’ve never done so many races before,” he added.
“I’m honoured that on the front and the back pages Paralympic sport had got the recognition it should do. We’re super humans and phenomenal athletes.”
Woods has just missed out on a marathon medal in Beijing four years ago, coming fourth, and also missed out on the track in the Olympic Stadium.
But she provided a silver lining and said: “I can’t describe how great it feels. That was such a hard race, probably the hardest marathon I’ve ever pushed in my life.
“It’s been such a tough week mentally. Physically my speed has been the best it’s been for the past few years, but the other girls were better tactically on the track.
“I still had the speed to sprint for the finish after 26 miles. It hurt, but all the hurt was worth it now.
“I wanted this so badly. I’ve been training for this for four years. To get a silver medal in London is amazing. It’s fantastic.”