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Weir makes fourth final

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15 September 2008


Dave Weir qualified for his fourth track final at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing today. Weir finished second in his 1500m semi-final in 3:10.41, doing just enough to qualify.

“I’m just glad to make it through,” said the Surrey racer after his 11th race in eight days. The fastest qualifier was Thailand’s Prawat Wahoram who grabbed gold in the 5000m when Weir took bronze. Wahoram set a Paralympic record of 3:00.10 in the third heat.

With the T54 1500m final and marathon to come from his mammoth 13-race programme, Weir admitted he feels exhausted. The 29-year-old returned to the stadium this morning just 10 hours after last night’s 800m medal ceremony.

Shelly Woods also made it through her 1500m heats. Woods took control of a tactical heat in the final lap to snatch first place in 3:34.41, a season’s best. She looks to add to her T54 5000m bronze in tomorrow’s final.

“It was good,” said the 22-year old Blackpool athlete. “The race was tactical, but I made sure I got a good spot and had a bit left at the end.

“I was quite nervous because I didn’t want to get boxed in. I’m more nervous in semi-finals than finals because anything can happen. I’m hoping for a medal tomorrow.”

The final is at 19.19 tomorrow with the men’s race at 20.27 local time. The men’s and women’s marathon races are on Wednesday.

Gemma Prescott was happy to throw a season’s best to finish seventh in the women’s shot put (F32-34/52/53). The 24-year-old, Britain’s only finalist at the Bird’s Nest this morning, threw 4.77m as Croatia’s Antonia Balek won with a world record throw of 5.69m.

“I’m happy with my performance,” said Prescott. “I was aiming for top eight and was only 8cm off my PB. My parents were cheering and jumping up and down.”

Libby Clegg qualified for tonight’s semi-final of the T12 200m in a season’s best of 26.42, beaten in her heat by French sprinter Assia El’hannouni in 25.58.

“I’ve only done one 200m this season,” said Clegg, who won the 100m silver last week. “I knew the French girl was good but I’m pleased she was in my race. I know it will be tough to make the A final and I might need a PB. I ran a season’s best this morning and I’ve not run that fast for two years.”

Tracey Hinton also ran a season’s best of 26.58 to qualify for the T11 200m final tomorrow evening. Hinton was second in her heat and faced a nerve-wracking wait to see if she qualified. “I’m really relieved,” said the Cardiff sprinter when the news came in. “I’m happy now.”

Michael Churm qualified for the final of the T37 200m tomorrow. He was second in his heat in a season’s best of 25.30.

Neil Fachie faced a tough heat in the T13 200m against three Champions from different distances. He ran 23.17 but missed out on qualification.