The six-time Paralympic gold medallist felt he had no choice but to retire from international athletics though is keen to help develop the next generation of wheelchair racers
David Weir has said that being an ambassador for wheelchair racing is hugely important to him now that he has retired from international athletics.
The six-time Paralympic gold medallist announced earlier this month that he would never again wear a Great Britain vest. On Friday (January 28) he revealed more about how his decision had come after a feud with British Athletics’ wheelchair racing coach Jenni Banks at the Rio Paralympics.
British Athletics confirmed that they had met with Weir to discuss his experiences in Rio, and that the national governing body is “working to ensure we learn from these experiences ahead of future team events”, though Weir added that he would still not consider ever returning to international competition.
On how difficult that decision had been to make, especially ahead of a home World Para Athletics Championships in London this summer, four-time London 2012 champion Weir said: “I wanted to finish at London 2017, that was the aim. On the track I wanted to finish my career where it is special to me, on that (London Stadium) track.
“It would have been nice to bail out there but I think they made the decision for me to be honest. I just felt if Jenni Banks was still in the job it wouldn’t be fair on the other team members if there was an atmosphere around and it was probably the best option if I just said that I’ll pack it in now and help the next generation come through.”
Now his focus is on road racing, as he works towards the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 23, plus helping to develop future wheelchair racing talent through the Weir Archer Academy he launched with his coach Jenny Archer and being an ambassador for the sport.
This year’s race will be Weir’s 18th consecutive London Marathon – an event he has won six times – while he also claimed a number of victories in the Mini London Marathon as a junior.
Although it had been seen as potentially Weir’s last marathon, the six-time winner knows that would be easier said than done.
“It’s the race that I love,” he said. “If it wasn’t in April I probably wouldn’t train all winter to be honest because it’s so cold and horrible.
“It’s the race that I love doing, it’s the race that I get up for every year. It’s been in my blood since I was eight years old. It was the first race I saw on TV, it was the first race that I wanted to win.
“Every year I always want to do it. That’s why I’ll never say never.”