“Everyone’s getting quicker and the speeds are unreal. The speeds you have to hold and hit are scary."
At London 2012, Weir beat Hug to four Paralympic gold medals, whilst last year in Weir’s absence Hug claimed five world titles in Lyon, France. This year the two have exchanged road race wins, but at last weekend’s (16-18 May) IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland Hug had the upper hand on home soil beating his rival in four out of the five races they met.
“I think Marcel is the man to beat, especially in Europe,” said Weir whose lone victory over Hug in Nottwil came in the 400m, a distance he quit after the Beijing Paralympics.
“Everyone’s getting quicker and the speeds are unreal. The speeds you have to hold and hit are scary. You have to raise your game every year.”
In April, Hug denied Weir a record seventh London marathon win however the 34-year-old denies the defeat will act as motivation for him at August’s European Championships.
“I’ve got a good record against Marcel,” explained Weir. “He’s never beaten me in a major Championships and I’d like to keep it like that.
“Last year he got a massive confidence boost from the World Championships and it’s good to see. He’s such a nice guy that you want him to do well, but when you’re racing him you don’t, because you want to beat him. It’s a great rivalry.
“He is very talented and he will medal no doubt about it. Maybe last year the pressure was off him as Kurt [Fearnley] and I weren’t there and a couple of the big guys were not there too, but Marcel is strong.”
Despite having a 100 per cent record against Hug in major Championships, Weir does not believe he holds the psychological edge going into Swansea 2014.
“I doubt he [Hug] even thinks about it. They are too clever the Swiss,” said Weir.
“I just think London was a big step for every Paralympian. It was quite daunting if you weren’t British as you saw nothing else but British flags.
“I’m not sure what went wrong for him as he was the one to beat going in and then I beat him every time.
“I’d like to keep that record but I’m not getting any younger. It’s getting tough with the training and mentally keeping the focus.”
It is likely Weir will go head-to-head with Hug at the European Championships, which will take place at Swansea University between 18-23 August, over 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m and potentially 400m after his win at the weekend.
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