Weir relishing London return
14:45 22 May 2015
Matt Alexander www.mattjalexander.com
Multi champion ‘as fast as ever’
While his participation in this year’s IPC Athletics World Championships may be up in the air, six-time Paralympic champion David Weir insists he’s sure of one thing – he’s as fast as ever.
Last year’s Commonwealth Games gold-medal winning performance aside, it’s been three years since wheelchair racer Weir competed at a major international championships after opting out of the 2013 Worlds and being ruled out of the 2014 European Championships by injury.
This year’s Worlds in Doha from October 22-31 would offer Weir the chance to add to his six world titles, although with the New York Marathon shortly afterwards on November 1, he admits he is torn over whether to compete.
The 35-year-old won silver at last month’s London Marathon – which also doubled as the marathon event for the World Championships – despite being hampered by a problem with his gloves.
The major focus is to win in New York for the first time since 2010, although this summer will be spent on the track. And Weir admits signs are promising that he can taste success both on the track and on the road.
“Going into the London Marathon, it wasn’t my fitness or my mental state, I was in the best shape ever, it was just my equipment which let me down on the day,” said Weir.
“To get silver was a brilliant job for me. Yes, I was a bit disappointed at the end, but I’ve just got to move on from that.
“I’m off to Switzerland for the Swiss series which will be good to test me and see how I’m going. My track times seem to be pretty good, so I’m looking forward to the track season ahead.
“My form is up there at the level that it was in 2012. At this time of the year, I’m probably fitter and faster than I’ve been in previous years.
“I did some time trialling on the track last week and I was shocked myself to see the times I was doing.
“I’ve not decided about the World Championships yet as it’s quite close to the New York Marathon. I would love to go. I’m going to talk to UK Athletics and see if I can fit one race in and, if it’s possible and do-able, then I will be there.
“I feel like I should be racing for Great Britain at a World Championships having missed Lyon. We’ll know in the next couple of weeks if I’m going or not.”
Weir will also race on home soil at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on July 26 – with the athletics event also doubling up as part of the celebrations for National Paralympic Day.
Building upon the legacy of London 2012, National Paralympic Day will also feature international para-swimming at the London Aquatics Centre.
And Weir admits the chance to return to the scene of London 2012, and the stadium in which he won three of his four titles, is one he is relishing.
“I’m really looking forward to National Paralympic Day, I think it’s very important to keep that legacy going from London 2012,” he added.
“I’m glad it’s back in the stadium. I’ve got great memories from racing there in 2012, so I’m looking forward to racing a 1,500m against my biggest rivals around the world.
“It feels like home, going in there and racing. It’s a good track, it’s fast. And to have that atmosphere as well, the roar of that track, it follows you around the stadium. Hopefully I can please the crowd and get a gold medal.”
*Tickets for National Paralympic Day are available at Ticketmaster: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/npd2015/