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Woods fourth in wheelchair marathon

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17 September 2008



Shelly Woods just missed out on a third medal at the Paralympic Games today when she finished fourth in the women’s T54 marathon, while David Weir decided enough was enough after four Beijing medals and did not start the men’s race.

Woods, who won bronze in the 5000m and silver at 1500m, entered the noisy Bird’s Nest stadium in touch with the leaders but couldn’t make up the ground over the last lap.

She said: “I did my best. I raced hard but the competition was very tough.

“They just had more speed at the finish. In the last 2km the pace just went, it hotted up. I was trying to move up on the last lap in the stadium, but it was a great race.”

Woods finished in 1:40:03, just four seconds behind Switzerland’s Edith Hunkeler who took the gold.

“Every credit to Edith,” said Woods. “She pushed a great race. Coming into the stadium here is really amazing. To finish in the Birds’ Nest is just brilliant. It ended a great week.

“To win two medals at my first Paralympic Games is fantastic. Now my ambition for London is to win a gold. In the next few years I hope to get stronger and faster. I’m definitely going to work my ass off.”

Athletics team manager Tim Jones said Weir was “physically and emotionally drained having achieved everything he set out to at this Paralympics”.

Weir won his second gold medal on the track last night in the 1500m after winning the 800m on Saturday. He also won bronze at 400m and silver at 5000m last week.

Australia’s Kurt Fearnley won the men’s T54 marathon in a Paralympic record, 1:23:17, while Britain’s Brian Alldis was 34th in 1:43:50, six seconds outside his personal best.

“At the start I felt fantastic,” said Alldis. “But I started to die about 15km. I know the areas that I need to work on now. But what a sight coming into the stadium, wow.”

Britain’s athletics team won 17 medals in Beijing. Weir’s pair were the only golds, but the young team picked up seven silvers and eight bronze medals to finish eighth in the athletics medal standings (17th on gold medals alone).