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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 07:23 GMT 08:23 UK
Weir bids for London victory
By Elizabeth Hudson

Paralympic athlete David Weir
Watch full video & audio coverage of the London Marathon on the BBC SPORT website from 0845 BST on Sunday 17 April

Wheelchair racer David Weir is aiming to continue his good London Marathon form in this year's race on Sunday.

Weir, the winner of the race in 2002, has finished second in the last two races and is aiming to go one better this year.

"Apart from last year, when the weather was poor, my times have improved each year which is what I look for," Weir told BBC Sport.

"Winning will be difficult as it is a very competitive race this year."

Among Weir's main rivals are last year's winner Saul Mendoza from Mexico, French duo Alain Fuss, who was third last year, and Denis Lemeunier, the 2001 winner, Canadian Jeff Adams and his own training partner Tushar Patel.

The 25-year-old won two medals at the Athens Paralympics, finishing second in the T54 100m and getting bronze in the 200m race.

And he believes the strong field assembled by organisers Disability Sport England will result in a tough race around the London streets.

It is important to stay with the leading pack and watch out for people trying to sprint away
David Weir

"These are some of the best racers in the world," said Weir, who will be competing in his sixth London Marathon.

"Having such a high-quality field increases the profile of the sport and also improves you as a racer.

"I maybe haven't done as much mileage as I have done going into previous races because of injury but my speed and stamina are still there.

"It is important to stay with the leading pack and watch out for people trying to sprint off but because of my sprinting speed, I think that if it is a close race late on, I would have a good chance of winning.

"I'm from south London and the atmosphere of racing in the city where you are from is unbelievable.

"When the crowds recognise you and shout out your name it is a great feeling."

Following the London race, Weir will have a short time to recover before returning to training for the 100 and 200m at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester on 15 May before the European Championships in Helsinki in August.

In the women's race, Dame Tanni Grey Thompson is bidding for her seventh title on the London streets.

The 35-year-old Cardiff-born athlete won her first London Marathon in 1992 and last crossed the line at the front of the field in 2002.

She will have an opportunity to renew rivalries from the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games through the streets of London when she comes up against Francesca Porcellato.

Porcellato was second behind Grey Thompson in the T53 100m and took bronze to her gold in the T53 400m.

The field in the women's race also features Britain's Deborah Brennan, winner of a silver medal in the T34 200m and a bronze in the 100m in Athens.




SEE ALSO
Holding to make Marathon return
11 Apr 05 |  Disability Sport
Where London will be won and lost
13 Apr 05 |  Disability Sport


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