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Wheelchair stars on a Swiss roll

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Shelly Woods
Shelly Woods

Britain’s leading wheelchair racers have been enjoying some success amongst world-class company in Switzerland in recent days.  Last Saturday in Ibach, David Weir produced an awesome performance by winning the 400m, 800, 1500m and 5000m, the latter in a new British record of 10:11.39.


Anne Strike, a relative newcomer to the international scene, produced a fine performance in the T54 200m, where despite rainy conditions he was 2nd in the 200m in 17.91, just 0.75secs adrift of Canadian world record holder Chantal Petitclerc.


Also in action were 21 year-old duo Shelly Woods and Brian Alldis. Woods was 3rd in the T54 1500m in 3:46.46, whilst in Alldis was classified 15th of 86 in the T54 800m in 1:41.29.


Moving on to Thursday in Prattelen, the Brits continued to shine.  Weir won the T54 400m in 46.51, just 0.40 shy of his own world record.  He was the first man in his class to break 47 seconds for the distance and is now striving to be the first man to better 46.


Weir also won the T54 200m in 25.29, with GB & NI team mate Alldis in 8th in 27.21. Perhaps the most satisfying performance of all though came from Woods, who learned from her race earlier in the week and employed new tactics to great success as she won the 1500m in 3:31.50.


A known pace setter, she hung back until the last lap before making the decisive move much to the delight of her coach Andrew Dawes.  On Saturday, Alldis will join London Marathon winners Weir and Woods on the start line for the Oensingen Marathon to complete a tough week’s competition.


Pete Wyman, UK Athletics Performance Coach – Wheelchair Racing, said: “It has been a very successful trip.  It is just one year to go until the Paralympic Games in Beijing and all the world’s leading racers are here to secure qualifying times and measure their standing internationally.


“David Weir has proven he is one the very best wheelchair athletes in the world. Shelly Woods is only 21 and is already one of the best in the world.  Brian Alldis is also 21 is making great progress and Anne Strike continues to achieve PBs and work hard towards improving.”


Closer to home, several of Britain’s leading seated throwers will compete at an international meeting at Stoke Mandeville on Saturday. Amongst those in action are Dave Gale, Richard Schabel, Sally Reddin and Andrew Williams.