Weir storms to second gold medal
Wednesday 17 September 2008
David Weir waited 12 years to become a Paralympic wheelchair champion – now the Briton is celebrating a second success in three days at the Bird's Nest Stadium.
Weir triumphed in the men's T54 1500m to claim his second middle-distance title after landing 800m gold on Saturday.
It was Great Britain's 42nd gold medal of the Games, while silvers for fellow wheelchair athletes Shelly Woods and Mickey Bushell and bronze medals for Hazel Simpson, Ian Jones and the men's wheelchair basketball team took the overall medals total tally to 102 after 10 days of competition.
China have 87 golds and 207 medals, while Britain's place as the next best should be secure with the United States in third on 36 gold and 98 medals.
It was fitting that Woods won Britain's 100th medal of the XIII Paralympics. The 22-year-old from Blackpool was embroiled in a fiasco which saw her return a silver medal in an unprecedented ruling before being forced to return for a re-run in the women's T54 5,000m where she won bronze.
Weir was involved in his own medal wrangle over his 800m crown. The 29-year-old from Wallington, Surrey, crossed the line first on Saturday night but a protest from Australia over a lane mix-up saw the International Paralympic Committee order a re-run for the following day.
However, after a night's sleep – a restless one for Weir – the Australian Kurt Fearnley, who finished second behind Weir withdrew his appeal and the original result stood.
Then three days later Weir produced another brilliant tactical performance in difficult wet conditions.
The man who won 400m silver and 5,000m bronze earlier in the Games despite suffering with illness, made a positive start and was clear alongside Prawat Wahoram at the bell.
The duo forged ahead and the result came down to a home-straight sprint and the Briton had too much power for the Thai 5,000m champion to win the blue-riband event in three minutes 10.34 seconds.
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