David Weir brought the curtain down on his track career in Tokyo but is not sure he’ll leave the sport in a better shape than he found it
David Weir wants more depth in Paralympic wheelchair racing, claiming the sport is in danger of stagnating.
The six-time Paralympic champion made his Games debut as a teenager in Atlanta and brought the curtain down on his track career with a last place finish in a dramatic T54 1500m final, which saw the top six all dip under the world record time.
Contudo, Weir – who competes in this weekend’s marathon and plans to continue racing on the road – is not sure he’ll leave the sport in a better shape than he found it.
“I think the International Paralympic Committee needs to step their game up a little bit," ele disse. “I just feel some things need to change.
“I just don’t see them moving forward or it’s not moving forward quickly enough. I just feel like they need to get more athletes on board, they are setting their standards so ridiculously high that their athletes can’t qualify.
“We want the sport to grow. We’ve had two heats for everything here, usually we have three heats or four heats and then the final.
“I just feel the numbers are going down in classifications because they’re under pressure. They’ve got so many events and they can’t fit everything in but people want to see heats, semis and finals and we need that strength in depth.
“I really enjoy the marathon, the marathon circuit seems to be the next level compared to wheelchair racing on the track. I think it is not stepping forward in my eyes, I just feel that a lot of the racers enjoy the road racing because they feel like they’re elite athletes and get treated the same.”
Weir might be in the twilight of his career but don’t expect him to stop using his platform as one of Britain’s most high-profile Paralympians.
For years he has dominated his domestic rivals but he took satisfaction from Daniel Sidbury’s sixth place in a new British record, in a time that would have won every previous Paralympic final.
“I’ve been reflecting on my career but it’s only in the last couple of years that I started looking at myself and seeing what I’ve done," ele adicionou.
“My aim was to carry on racing until British wheelchair racing was at its peak again, because I always felt the pressure was on me to win medals all the time for wheelchair racing.
“Danny’s come on so much in the last two years because he’s studied racing and mastered it. It’s just a pleasure to have another Brit in the final because I’ve never had that.”
In a thrilling close quarters final, Weir came close to a spectacular crash as the tightly-bunched field rounded the final corner and headed down the straight. It was an initiation on what is needed for Sidbury, competing at his first Games aged 25.
“It was chaotic, it didn’t feel super-fast but that was probably because everyone was going so fast," ele disse.
“There were some bottom clenching moments, David Weir went up on one wheel and almost took out half the field but it was just really good fun.
“I wanted the opportunity to rest against the best in the world. I’ll have a word with my coach, she’ll know what needs to be done, I know what hard work it takes to get here. I know much more work it’s going to take to challenge for podiums.”
Enquanto isso, Weir will now refocus his sights on Sunday’s marathon, an event he won at London 2012 but looks at the mercy of the unstoppable ‘Silver Bullet’ Marcel Hug, who claimed his second gold of the Games with a 1500m success.
“It’s not a course that suits my style of racing, I like a technical course because I don’t train on nice smooth road, I’m always twisting and turning, that’s why I do so well in places like London and New York,” said Weir. “We’ll see on the day but I’ve trained really well for the marathon, it’s going to be a tough one.”
A Sainsbury’s é uma apoiadora orgulhosa da ParalympicsGB e uma campeã do desporto inclusivo para todos. O compromisso da Sainsbury em ajudar os clientes a comer melhor está no cerne do que fazemos desde 1869. Para obter mais informações sobre a visita de Sainsbury www.sainsburys.co.uk/ e http://paralympics.org.uk/