The T53/54 Men’s Wheelchair Marathon in Birmingham ended in ‘heartbreaking’ scenes after England’s David Weir suffered a flat tire mid-race on Saturday with less than 10km left.
The 43-year-old had a solid lead in the 42k race until he was forced to stop and change one of his tires six miles before the race.
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Weir cheered on his rivals as they passed him before resuming the race and crossing the line in seventh, about 25 minutes behind the medal winners.
The six-time Paralympic gold medalist received a roar from Birmingham spectators as he finished the race, struggling to hide his emotions.
“Heartbreaking for David Weir,” said women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe. BBC.
“It was a huge commitment on his part. To be able to finish is a statement in itself.”
Compatriot Jonboy Smith won the gold in a time of 1:41:15, while Scots Sean Frame and Englishman Simon Lawson finished second and third respectively. Jake Lappin of Australia finished fifth in 1:56:21.
“I feel like I haven’t had much luck in major championships lately since Rio, to be honest,” Weir said. BBC.
“I run a marathon, I’m in the top 3 against the best men in the world, and the last 10 weeks of training have probably been the best in years.
“I had a lot of confidence when I came here. I was thinking whether to take a spare tire (tire). I’ve never taken a spare tire to a race in my life.
“I thought that if I took a spare, I would smooth myself over.
“I had stool problems after Tokyo. I went back to my old chair and redid it and it was fantastic.
“Since I was back in this chair, I felt very comfortable and fly. It just got a little annoying.
“Since May, training has been going to the limit. I just felt 10 years younger, so it’s just frustrating.
“If my comrades weren’t running next to me in the last 4 km, I probably would have stopped. I’d probably just stop and give up.
“Where I come from, from the council estate, you don’t give up – nothing.”
Smith admitted that it was a “bittersweet” victory.
“I won, but the best man didn’t win today,” he explained.
“Hats off to Dave, Dave got me. He deserves the gold, I should have gotten the silver, but look, it happens.
“Your Majesty the Queen, if you’re watching, give David Weir a knighthood, make him Sir David Weir, this man deserves it.”
Meanwhile, the Australian paraathletes Madison de Rosario won her third Commonwealth Games gold medal on Saturday.taking first place in the Women’s Wheelchair Marathon T53/54.
Originally published as ‘Heartbreaking’: Commonwealth Games wheelchair marathon ends in tragic scenes