David Weir is triumphant in the marathon on the final day of action at the London 2012 Paralympic Games
It was the most fitting end possible to the London 2012 Paralympics as David Weir, the golden boy of the moment, won his fourth title of the Games.
Having already won the T54 800m, 1500m and 5000m, Weir was today in action in the marathon on the final day of competition. In much the same way he won his previous titles, Weir’s sprint at the end proved too strong for the rest of the field.
Two of his biggest arch-rivals – Marcel Hug of Switzerland and Kurt Fearnley of Australia – put up a good fight, but finished a second behind as Weir crossed the line triumphant in 1:30:20.
“The support was amazing all the way through,” said Weir of the crowds along The Mall. “The first six miles were the hardest and felt I had no energy and I thought ‘if they keep this speed up I’m going to die’.
“But then I blocked it all out and thought all of the training. I have done sprints 10 miles out, 20 miles out but I didn’t know how my body would react with the pressure and the other races. Kurt and Marcel were talking and working together but it doesn’t bother me.”
The women’s T54 marathon got underway just two minutes after the start of the men’s race and Britain’s Shelly Woods took silver, finishing just one second behind USA’s Shirley Riley, who won in 1:46:33.
It had otherwise been a quiet few days in Paralympic athletics from a British perspective. Josie Pearson’s gold in the women’s F51/52/53 discus on Friday morning was to be the final medal of any colour won by the host nation inside the London 2012 Stadium.
Aside from Weir’s fourth gold medal, the biggest race of the weekend was the men’s T44 400m final where Oscar Pistorius – the worldwide poster boy of the Games – enjoyed an emphatic victory.
Earlier in the Games the South African blade runner was handed a rare defeat in the 200m and was outside the medals in the 100m. But he turned his fortunes around in the second half of the week with a world record in the 4x100m, and yesterday he finished three and a half seconds ahead of his nearest rival over one lap, winning with a Paralympic record of 46.68.