04 September 2012
David Weir capped another great night for athletics in the stadium with a superb 1500m victory - his second gold of the Games.
It was another hugely successful evening for the GB Paralympic team in the Olympic stadium with one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.
In the T54 1500m Weir (Jenny Archer) retained his Paralympic 1500m title in style to winning his second gold of the Games and Britain’s sixth in the Olympic stadium, already three times their haul in Beijing. He executed a perfect race, was always close to the front and covering every move and never allowed himself to get boxed in.
The pace was fairly steady around the 52 second mark with a 52.88 first lap and a slightly slower second lap. Making his move much earlier than he did in the 5000m, Weir went ahead at the bell and led through 1200m in 2:39.64 with the whole field lined up behind. He retained the lead throughout a tense and very noisy last lap, always taking the shortest route and then made his final kick down the straight to win by a few metres from Thailand’s Prawat Wahoram in 3:12.09. That gave him his fourth paralympic title and eighth medal.
He said “Josh and I helped each other in that race; we hadn’t planned to, but he’s an amazing guy and we worked together out there. This is the blue riband event and I’ve won it twice now. I’m glad I’ve just got two laps tomorrow and not 12 and half in the 5k. I'm very proud. I'm shocked really because the field in the 1500m this year has been so strong and I've only won a couple of races, so coming into this race I was probably the fourth fastest on paper. I have done a lot of mileage the last few months training with the cyclists. I know my speed is so good at the moment, and it shows that all the endurance work I’ve put in has paid off. And on the warm-up track tonight, I was even quicker on the top speed. I wasn't so nervous tonight."
He added, “The plan was to hopefully win on the first night, and I did. Once you get one under your belt you can start relaxing, and just do the talking on the track. I was just thinking of winning on the last lap. I was pushing at 22mph in the straight and the noise was incredible. I will try my best to win another two medals. I’ve been dreaming of these moments for seven years when we got the Games and it’s been amazing so far."
In the T36 400m Paul Blake (Rob Ellchuk) took almost a whole second off his PB to take the silver medal in a British record 54.22. Gold went to the Russian Evgenii Shvetcov in a world record 53.31 and the Briton was close to him coming into the straight and he though he lost ground on the leader, he pulled away from defending champion and previous world record holder Roman Pavlyk of Ukraine and only just missed the old world record of 54.13.
Blake said, “I thought I could medal as long I could execute my race. I was so nervous, my coach Rob Ellchuk told me to take in the crowd at the start then concentrate on the first 200m, go out strong, not panic and try to stay between Shvetcov and Pavlyk which I did. He told me to go through in 26 seconds then try to stay loose and relaxed with a long stride and go after them. The crowd was like having a second pair of legs, it was just amazing.”
In the T13 1500m Dan Devine (Brian Scobie) took part in a cracking 1500m race and he smashed his PB in taking the bronze medal in a European record time. Kenyan David Korir set a furious pace leading through 400m in 60.41. At the bell the Briton briefly moved ahead before Korir kicked again and in a furious 57 sec last lap Tunisian Abderrahim Zhiou won in a T12 world record of 3:48.31 from Korir’s T13 world record 3:48.84. Devine ran his first sub 3:50 with 3:49.79, having only qualified for the final as a fastest loser.
“I’m really happy to get a medal after what happened in the heat; I knew I could win a medal, but my confidence was a bit dented after the heat and tonight I just got beaten by two better athletes,” he said.
“It was unbelievable out there. I think I had around 30 friends and family and I didn’t want anyone to pass me on the home straight. I’d planned to step it up with between 250m to go and 100m to go but I just couldn’t help it when the bell went and the crowd just lifted me, I think even went too quick then, I had to slow down.”
In the women’s T35-38 4x100m relay the British team of Jenny McLoughlin, Olivia Breen, Bethany Woodward and Katrina Hart, took the bronze in 56.08 though the medals won’t be presented until tomorrow. After two excellent changeovers, the British team were disputing the lead but they had a nervous final changeover and lost momentum and only just about excecuted the change within the zone when many in the stadium thought they may have been disqualified. In a tense last 50m they held off Australia for third place. Their time was 56.08 and they finished just behind China’s 55.65 as the winners Russia took gold in 54.86.
Bethy Woodward said: "We worked perfectly together as a team, we were really really united and it was one after the other was just incredible. The crowd just brought us through I think. Olivia got off to an amazing start which got me in a good pace, then I got Kat in a good place, and we got the bronze so that's just incredible."
Katrina Hart said: "I love that bend. I just absolutely went for it and I heard the crowd just roaring and it was incredible...amazing. It was touch and go on the last leg but we held them off so it's great."
Jenny McLoughlin: "I wasn't sure if we'd managed to get it, but when it came on the board that we'd got third I was over the moon. I just had to go for the line and we got the bronze so that's fantastic."
In the T20 1500m Steve Morris (Chris Moss) was close to the leaders in a relatively slow race but despite a sub-60 last 400, he couldn’t match the ferocious kick of Iran’s Peyman Na Siri Bajaznjani who timed 56.32 for his last 400m to win in 3:58.49.Morris was sixth in 4:02.50.
Morris said, “It was difficult out there; the first couple of laps felt easy and the last 200m was very hard. I’m sorry I didn’t get a medal but I’llcome back stronger in four years time in Rio. I only stepped up to 1500m from 800m in the last ten months and I gave it my best shot.”
In the T34 200m final, 17 -year-old Jamie Carter (Jenny Archer) went very close to his PB in his heat with a time of 30.94/-0.4 and that placed him eighth. "I don't know how to describe how I feel after that. That crowd is amazing. It's the best way to make your Games debut, at your home Paralympics. The crowd got louder and louder when I was geeing them up and I wasn't expecting that.
"I can go home saying I'm a Paralympic finalist at my first Games. This is the first time I've put ParalympicsGB kit on and been part of the ParalympicsGB team, and everyone's been really supportive of each other so it's been great."
In the F34 shot Dan West (Jim Edwards) competed superbly in his fifth Paralympics and having got a medal in this event way back in 1996, he opened with a PB equalling 11.37 and had three other throws over 11m and that placed him seventh.
He said, “I equalled my PB there, and considering that distance won me the silver medal in the worlds two years ago. It was really good out there, a great atmosphere, and the best Games I've ever been to. I wish I could have thrown a bit further. At one point I didn't think I'd make the top eight but that just shows how much Paralympic sport has moved on. It also makes me realise how special the medals that I've won before are.
"The Paralympics are still growing and people are finding new training techniques and coaching methods. As a team we've moved on no end, this is the best team I've ever been part of, and that's due to Peter Eriksson.”
Jonathan Adams (Edwards), who is only 19 years-old and was competing in his first Paralympics, couldn’t quite match his PB form and he threw 9.84m to finish 14th.