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ipc world championships (12)

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Dave Weir
Three from three for Weir

27 January 2011

Continuing his sparkling run of form, David Weir (coach: Jenny Archer) excelled in tactical delivery, endurance and ultimately speed as he won his third gold medal of the week in the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand (21-30 January) with yet another textbook execution, this time in the T54 5000m (10.48.43).

Reaching a top speed of 22.3 miles per hour, Weir - newly crowned world champion over 800m and 1500m - clocked 44.12 seconds to destroy his rivals on the final lap and admitted that for the first time this week he didn’t have a complex race plan.

“After the 800m I knew I had the speed so I didn’t come into this one with much of a plan,” he said; “I just wanted to stay out of trouble and use my pace, I knew they wouldn’t be able to match me over the last 400m.”

Double Paralympic champion Weir – positioned towards the back of the field through the early stages of the race alongside World Record holder Marcel Hug (Switzerland) – didn’t make a serious move until six laps to go when Josh Cassidy (Canada), the 2010 Virgin London Marathon winner, kicked to the front.

But it was only in the last 1200m that the Beijing Paralympic Games 5000m bronze medallist pushed into serious contention and took up his familiar position on the outside at the bell, proving that in his current form he’s unbeatable.

“It was very technical but I felt comfortable the whole way through,” he said. “To win three gold medals is a dream and it shows how fit I was through the summer and going into New York Marathon in November. When I had some trouble with my shoulder before Christmas Jenny (his coach Jenny Archer) wasn’t worried about the distance training because of the work I’d done, it was more about the speed, but I’ve trained well out here and it’s all come together.”

Hug finished second in 10:48.70.

In another brilliant – albeit quieter – evening for the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team, IWAS World Junior Champion and World Junior Record holder Aled Davies (coach: Anthony Hughes) added field event bronze to Weir’s track gold with a superb third place finish in the F42 discus (41.56m) to take the overall medal tally for the week up to 30.

It was an outstanding performance from the Welsh athlete who had finished outside the medals in fourth, only marginally outside his lifetime best, in the shot putt earlier in the week.

“What a buzz,” he admitted. “I came here for the experience in both events and I was so pleased with the shot putt that I became more confident and I was really looking forward to this.

“In the third round I was questioning what I was doing wrong but Shaun and Anthony (Aviva GB & NI team coaches Shaun Pickering and Anthony Hughes) really sorted my head out. I relaxed after that and connected in each round, I was slow at the back and fast at the front and it was awesome.”

With significantly less experience than his fellow competitors, Davies built on each throw and delivered the performance of an athlete older than his 19 years.

“That kid has got a huge future” commented World Record holder Fanie Lombaard of South Africa, the world champion with a season’s best performance of 42.03m.

“London’s going to be off the hook!” added a delighted Davies. “I’ve just got to learn to relax more and trust in the fact that I’ve got the right training behind me.”

In the only heat of the afternoon to involve a British athlete, T53 100m silver medallist and 200m bronze medallist Mickey Bushell (coach: Fred Periac) finished third to qualify automatically for tomorrow’s T53 400m final (17.35 NZ time, 04.35 UK time), clocking 53.01.

Josie Pearson (coach: Peter Eriksson) opens the Aviva GB & NI programme of action tomorrow as she takes to the track for the fourth and last time in the T52 800m final at 09.36 NZ time (20.36 UK time).

For the latest news about the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, please visit www.ipcathleticsworldchamps.com, while the IPC’s online TV channel www.ParalympicSport.TV is broadcasting live coverage of the evening sessions from Christchurch.

Daily session reports will be posted on the UKA website: www.uka.org.uk