Another four medals for the host nation as David Weir takes his second gold of London 2012
Just two days after winning his first gold medal of the London 2012 Paralympics, David Weir was back on track today for his second final of the Games. Having won the 5000m, the result was the same for Weir in tonight’s T54 1500m.
China’s Liu Yang, the 100m silver medallist, shot into the early lead as Weir positioned himself in third. The field began to bunch at half way but Weir did well to stay out of trouble.
Unlike his 5000m victory, when he only took the lead in the home straight, this time Weir hit the front with 400m to go. He pushed hard as the field began to give chase, but he maintained his lead to win in 3:12.09 from Thailand’s Prawat Wahoram.
“I’m very proud. Shocked,” said Weir after winning his fourth career Paralympic title. “The 1500m field this year is so strong and I’ve only won a couple races. Coming into this race I was probably only fourth fastest on paper.
“I wasn’t so nervous tonight,” revealed Weir, who still has two more events – the 800m and marathon – yet to come. “The plan was hopefully to win on the first night and I did. Once you’ve got one under your belt you can start relaxing and do the talking on the track.”
It was Britain’s sixth athletics gold of the Games, following Mickey Bushell’s dominant victory in the T53 100m yesterday. That race was effectively over after just 10 metres as Bushell hit the front and was never challenged, winning in a Paralympic record of 14.75.
“The 100m is my main event, my strongest event and the one I wanted to win most,” he said. “Conditions were perfect and it went better than I hoped. I think I got out second but after the first push I started to pull away and I was confident I could win.
“Gold was the only thing I wanted, it’s been a long, hard four years to get here,” added Bushell, who took silver in Beijing four years ago. “Last night I watched Dave Weir and I was bouncing off the walls; Dave has been massive for me as a team mate; he’s a fantastic guy and a great role model.”
There were three more medals for Britain tonight inside the Olympic Stadium. Less than an hour before Weir’s 1500m final, Paul Blake took silver in the T36 400m, smashing his PB by a second with 54.22. It took a world record to beat him though as Russian Paralympic star Evgenii Shvetcov took his second gold of the Games in 53.31.
Britain’s David Devine was also in record-breaking form, setting a European record of 3:49.79 in the T13 1500m. But in a high-quality race it was only good enough for third place as Abderrahim Zhiou of Tunisia and David Korir of Kenya, a T12 athlete, set world records for their respective categories with times of 3:48.31 and 3:48.84.
The evening ended on a high for the host nation with bronze in the women’s T35/T38 4x100m relay. Britain led going into the final leg, but a scrappy changeover between Katrina Hart and Jenny McLoughlin cost them dear. McLoughlin would have been hard pressed to hold off Russia and China though, as their anchor leg runners stormed through over the final 100m.