David Weir wins fourth gold medal of Paralympics 2012

 

David Weir made it four wins from four events at London 2012 as he beat Marcel Hug to win the T54 marathon in front of an ecstatic crowd on the Mall.

The 33-year-old's triumph, after 5,000m, 1500m and 800m victories, means he matches Sarah Storey as Britain's most successful athlete at the Games.

"I had to be in super-human shape to win four and I've done it," said Weir.

Great Britain's London 2012 top medal winners

  • Sarah Storey (Cycling) Four golds
  • David Weir (Athletics) Four golds
  • Sophie Christiansen (Equestrian) Three golds
  • Ellie Simmonds (Swimming) Two golds, one silver, one bronze
  • Natasha Baker (Equestrian) Two golds
  • Hannah Cockcroft (Athletics) Two golds

In the women's race ParalympicsGB's final medal hope Shelly Woods won silver after three track defeats.

Woods's second-placed finish behind American Shirley Reilly means Great Britain collected 120 medals - 17 more than their pre-Games target - and finished third in the medal table behind China and Russia.

They also improved their athletics medal tally from 17 (two golds) in Beijing four years ago to 29 in London, with 11 golds won.

Both Weir and Woods won the London marathon in April, although the Paralympic course was very different from the one they raced in the spring.

Consisting of one 2.2 mile and three eight-mile loops, the more technical route had been seen as favouring Weir, and the Londoner remained in the leading group as it whittled down from six to leave him with just Hug and Athens and Beijing champion Kurt Fearnley for company.

Despite his exertions on the track, Weir summoned up the strength over the final 500m to make a decisive break, and it was one neither of his rivals could follow.

"That was the toughest race I've ever raced in my life," Weir, who has suggested he might retire, added. "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.

"It has just been an amazing experience these last 10 days, I've never experienced anything like it in my life.

"It just shows the British public are so supportive; they love sport, they love seeing Britain doing well, you can see how proud they are to put these Games on."

His four golds in London will ease Weir's memories of a difficult Paralympic campaign in Beijing four years ago.

Tipped as a contender in five events in China, he came away with two golds having been hampered with a virus.

Woods , competing in the women's versions of Weir's events, had failed to get amongst the medals in this year's Games before Sunday's race.

Weir's 10 Paralympic medals

Gold (6): 800m (Beijing), 1500m (Beijing), 1500m (London), 5,000m (London), 800m (London), marathon (London)

Silver (2): 100m (Athens), 400m (Beijing)

Bronze (2): 200m (Athens), 5,000m (Beijing)

All in T54 category

But after slipping 11 seconds off the pace at the 10km mark, the 26-year-old closed back in on the leaders and was only denied gold by a second as she was narrowly outsprinted by Reilly.

"It has been such a tough week and I've been wanting a medal so badly," Woods said.

"I've always known that physically my speed is there, it just wasn't happening on the track.

"This means the world to me. I was hoping I could do it on the track, but a silver in the marathon is amazing."

American Tatyana McFadden, whose hopes of five golds in the Games were foiled by a bronze in the 100m on Saturday night, finished ninth after a mechanical problem required a change of wheel.