'Weirwolf' wants marathon glory after 800m win brings gold No 3 800m victory

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The Independent Online

Three down; one to go. "The Weirwolf of London" claimed another set of victims and a third gold medal last night. David Weir might not have the facial hair to live up to the nickname given to him in the Paralympics on his home town turf, but he can sure scare the life out of his fellow wheelchair racers.

Accompanied by howls from the athletes' section and deafening roars from the 80,000-strong crowd, the 33-year-old Londoner struck in the T54 800m final, sprinting to victory off the final bend. The Weirwolf has now retained both the 800m and 1500m titles he won in Beijing four years ago and claimed the 1500m crown. It will take a brave man to bet against him when it comes to the marathon on Sunday.

As in the 5,000m final on Sunday and 1,500m on Tuesday, Weir judged his tactics to perfection. He had to dig deep but timed his attack to perfection as he came off the final bend, flying past Lixin Zhang and also resisting the late charge of Switzerland's Marcel Hug, above. He finished 0.19sec clear of Hug in 1min 37.63sec.

"I've had some amazing finals and the emotion of it has been incredible," Weir said. "I've actually had to check myself and choke the tears back on the start line but it's hard not to get caught up in the emotion of how the crowd has got behind the athletes, and not just me.

"Yesterday I finally felt shattered by it all. I made sure I was in bed by 9pm to be ready for the 800m final.

"The toughest one of the four golds I'm going for is the marathon. There's so many highs and lows to it. It's not like a standard track race. It's just a totally different feel as a racer. But I'll be going for gold. It's the four golds I want."

Having won the wheelchair section of the London Marathon for a record sixth time in April, Weir will start as clear favourite for the 26.2 mile event, which starts and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.

There are sure to be a fair few howls of support then too. The nickname has stuck, the public address system blasting out Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" as Weir warmed up last night.

"The first I heard of the Weirwolf was from one of our team doctors, Rob, who came up with the nickname," Weir said. "Now all the team are calling me the Weirwolf of London. I like it. I think it's funny.

"There have been a lot of messages and tweets from people. I've heard from Usain Bolt, Bradley Wiggins, all sorts really. It's a bit mad."