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Eriksson: Weir is best ever

10th September 2012, 11:49am

David Weir: A 'complete racer'

David Weir: A 'complete racer'

Paralympic athletics chief Peter Eriksson hailed David Weir as the complete racer after the Londoner completed a clean sweep with four gold medals.

Weir came through the hardest race of his life to clinch the marathon title in scorching conditions on a memorable final day of competition at London 2012.

The 'Weirwolf', released on to the sunny streets of the capital after a week of track domination, felt he was wilting in the near 30 degree heat just five miles into the race, but recovered to time a sprint finish to perfection.

"David is the most talented racer I have ever seen," said Eriksson, the UK Athletics Paralympic head coach.

"You can see it on the track with the speed and acceleration, but now he's showing the best endurance too. How much better can it be? The best racer I've seen in history."

That is high praise indeed from a man who has coached athletes to more than 100 Paralympic medals over a stellar career.

Weir has treated the Olympic Stadium crowd to consistently flawless performances over the past week as he has taken the T54 800, 1500 and 5,000 metres titles.

And there was an air of inevitability about his marathon triumph too as, coming round the final bend and into The Mall in first place, he held off the challenges of Marcel Hug and Kurt Fearnley to cross the line in first in one hour 30 minutes 20 seconds.

The wheelchair racer was too good for them on the track and they had no answer to his devastating speed on the road either.

The pair could be forgiven for hoping he chooses not to carry on to Rio in 2016, with Weir claiming he has yet to make a final decision on his future.

"It was tough, the first five miles I was absolutely dying to tell the truth," said Weir, who was cheered on by his pregnant partner Emily Thorne and celebrated after receiving his medal with his one-year-old son Mason on his lap.

"I didn't think I was going to manage to cope, with the heat and everything. I felt flat.

"I had to just dig deep and have another energy shot that I took with me just to get me going. That was meant for about 16 miles, not the first five miles, but I'm glad I took it on board. It just gave me a bit more energy.

"That was the toughest race I've ever raced in my life."

His team-mate Shelly Woods had rather different experiences on the track after three successive disappointments. She rescued her Games in style, though, with a gutsy silver in the marathon, the last medal won by ParalympicsGB at the Games.

"Shelly has had a really tough time on the track," Eriksson said. "It has been a nightmare for her.

"To be able to do what she did today is phenomenal. This is where she belongs."

Great Britain's athletics team finished with 11 gold medals and 29 in total, dwarfing the 17 and two golds, both won by Weir, they took home from Beijing four years ago.

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