Paralympics: David Weir produced a thrilling finale to the Paralympics today by winning his fourth gold of the competition in the T54 marathon.
The “Weirwolf” powered his way to victory, urged on by thousands of spectators who lined the streets of London.
The victory meant a clean sweep for Weir, who also won gold in the T54 800m, 1500m and 5,000m to establish himself as one of the faces of the Paralympics.
More British success soon followed as Shelly Woods, who was looking to make up for three successive disappointments in the Olympic Stadium, claimed silver in the women’s event.
Weir admitted afterwards that he had been wilted in the scorching weather and had even begun to doubt whether he would complete the race.
“It was tough, the first five miles I was absolutely dying to tell the truth,” said Weir, a six-time London Marathon winner.
“I didn’t think I was going to manage to cope, with the heat and everything. I felt flat.
“I had to just dig deep and have another energy shot that I took with me just to get me going. That was meant for about 16 miles, not the first five miles, but I’m glad I took it on board. It just gave me a bit more energy. That was the toughest race I’ve ever raced in my life.
“They were all working together to try and stop me, but I’m used to that. I do my own thing and race as best as I can.”
The Londoner finished in one hour 30.20 minutes, just a second ahead of silver medallist Marcel Hug and Australian defending champion Kurt Fearnley, who won bronze.
Woods too needed plenty of resilience to land a silver, especially as for large parts of the race it seemed like she might fall narrowly short of a medal and finish fourth.
The British athlete missed out on a medal in the 1500m and 5,000m and failed to make the final of the 800m, but produced a strong finish to ensure a podium place did not pass her by in the marathon.
Entering the final straight in a breakaway group of four, she held off Sandra Graf of Switzerland, who took bronze, and Amanda McGrory of the United States. Shirley Reilly of the US had just too much for Woods and won in 1hr 46mins 33secs, a second ahead of the Briton.
“I am so proud of myself,” Woods said. “I’ve had such a tough week on the track. I kept getting bashed down and I kept jumping up for more and today I jumped up for more.
“It was such a tough race, probably one of the hardest marathons I’ve ever done. I’ve got blisters, but it’s 100 per cent worth it and something I’ll remember for ever.”
Great Britain’s athletics team finished with 11 gold medals and 29 in total.
That put the hosts third in the athletics and the overall medals table behind China and Russia.
Elsewhere, Brazil’s Tito Sena and Spain’s Alberto Suarez Laso won the T46 and T12 marathons respectively.
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