Six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir has been named in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team selected for April’s IPC Athletics Marathon World Championships.
The 26.2 mile route will be staged on Sunday 26 April at the Virgin Money London Marathon in advance of October’s IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, and Weir will be aiming for his first gold medal in his country’s colours since the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Also on the 35 year olds agenda will be a record seventh win after finishing second last year behind main rival Marcel Hug of Switzerland.
“It was heart-breaking having to pull out of the team for the IPC Athletics European Championships last summer, but I’m really looking forward to getting back in a GB vest and test myself amongst the very best in the world. We’re going to have the home support behind us and if we can deliver, it will be a real boost for the team ahead of Doha in October.
“Just a second separated the top three last year and I’m sure it’s going to go down to the wire again in 2015. It would mean a lot to get the record breaking seventh in London and win gold for the team, but first and foremost I’m focused on ensuring I’m in the best possible condition at the end of April ready to attack the race.
“The race will give me a real gauge of what I need to do between now and Rio to make sure that I can add to the six gold medals I’ve won at Paralympic Games.”
Joining Weir in the team is training partner Shelly Woods, who won the London Marathon prior to winning marathon silver at London 2012. Joining Woods in the T54 race is double European medallist Jade Jones, who was ninth on her debut on the London course last year.
Rob Smith will also look to improve on his third place finish at the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2014 as he bids to make the podium once again after winning T52 1,500m silver at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain.
One athlete looking to make an impression on the international stage is Derek Rae, who makes his international debut lining up in the T46 category, while Simon Lawson will have an eye on going better than his 19th place finish last year in the capital.
Paralympic Head Coach Paula Dunn said: “Racing in London ahead of Doha will certainly give the athletes the excitement of a home crowd and hopefully that will spur them on to challenge for the medal places.
“We are very fortunate to have some of the world’s best wheelchair racers, and I’m sure they will equip themselves well going into London. There is a lot at stake with not only the prestige of the marathon but also giving the team a bit of a head start when it comes to flying out to the Middle East in October.”
GB & NI marathon team for the IPC Athletics World Championships taking place at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 26 April 2015:
Jade Jones (Ian Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson)
Simon Lawson (Ian Thompson)
Derek Rae (Ron Morrison)
Rob Smith (Jenni Banks)
David Weir (Jenny Archer)
Shelly Woods (Jenny Archer)