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Weir hits gold again as Woods wins 100th GB medal

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16 September 2008

 

David Weir completed his 12-race track programme at the Paralympic Games today with a second gold medal as Shelly Woods snatched ParalympicsGB’s 100th Beijing medal with a silver.

Weir doubled his gold tally with victory in the men’s T54 1500m in 3:10.34, a race that again saw wheelchair racers crashing across the track.

The Surrey racer had to fight hard to recover after being boxed in on the penultimate lap but in the end it came down to a straight sprint between him and 5000m gold medallist Prawat Wahoram of Thailand as his Australian rival Kurt Fearnley was involved in a crash 550m from the finish.

“It’s sweet to have two,” said Weir. “I’m over the moon. I only wanted one gold and now I’ve got two. I’m just overwhelmed really. It’s the blue-ribbon event for wheelchair racing, so everyone wants to win the 1500m.”

Weir is due to race the marathon tomorrow morning, but said he may reconsider after a grueling nine days.

“I'll go back to the village and see how I feel in the morning about whether to start the marathon,” he said. “I’ll need to get up at 5am and that’s a bit mad. It wasn’t the marathon I came for, it was the track.



Woods’ race took place in the pouring rain as front-runners fought for a good position. The 22-year-old played it perfectly to finish the race in a head-to-head battle with Switzerland’s Edith Hunkerler. Woods beat her by the width of her tyre posting 3:40.99. Canada’s Chantal Petitclerc stormed home to win her 13th Paralympic gold in 3:39.88 at her third Games, her fifth in Beijing.

“I’ve really grown in confidence at these Games and I did my thing one race at a time,” said the Blackpool-based Woods. “In the call room people were really nervous about the rain but it was like typical British weather and actually I was quietly confident.



Wheelchair sprinter Mickey Bushell flew to an unexpected silver in the T53 100m after leading the race most of the way. He was pipped for gold only by USA’s Josh George.

Bushell eclipsed the personal best he set this morning by nearly half a second in 14.86.

“It feels fantastic,” said the 18-year-old. “I can’t believe I got silver. I’m a bit shocked. I was out in lane eight so I just had to concentrate on my own race but I had the best start ever. I’ve done two PBs so I’m really chuffed.

“A year ago if someone had said I’d get a silver I would have thought they were crazy.”

Ian Jones ran a strong first half of the T44 400m but tired towards the end to finish with the bronze medal in 51.69, a season’s best time. South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius yet again dominated to take the gold and world record in 47.49.

Hazel Simpson added a second bronze to her collection in the T36 100m final running 15.40 in a race that saw gold medallist Wang Fang dominate to set a world record of 13.82.

“I‘m delighted to get two medals,” said Sunderland-born Simpson. “I don’t even feel that tired yet. I can’t believe it. I just tried to stay strong and keep running on my tiptoes. I’m looking forward to watching the marathon tomorrow and I can’t wait for the closing ceremony.”

Tracey Hinton and her guide Steffan Hughes were out-paced in the T11200m and finished fourth in 26.68.

“I couldn’t expect anymore from myself really,” said Hinton competing at her fifth Games. “I know I ran to the best of my ability and I know I’ve achieved everything I could at these Games. I’ve never heard crowds like these and I’m pleased with how I dealt with the noise in the stadium.”

Claire Williams was fifth in the F12/13 discus with a best of 35.01m. A torrential rainstorm starting halfway through her competition disrupted her rhythm.

“I’m really happy to compete here in Beijing,” said Loughborough-based Williams. “But I should have done much better. When the rain came down it was so difficult. These were the worst conditions I’ve ever competed in.

“The last four years have been really tough for me. I haven’t competed internationally since Athens due to a change in my classification. My big aim is London now, that’s my target.”

Michael Churm finished fifth in the men’s T37 200m running 24.48 as South Africa’s Fanie van der Merwe set a world record of 23.84 to take gold.

The athletics concludes tomorrow with the marathon races with Woods, Weir and Brian Alldis in action for the last time.