30 August 2021

Sidbury smashes old world record but he and Weir miss out on athletics medals

Wheelchair racer Daniel Sidbury smashed the previous world record but still saw five athletes finish ahead of him in a high-quality men’s 1500m T54 final in Tokyo.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug took his second gold of the Games and rewrote the four-year-old world record but sixth-place Sidbury can take satisfaction from his time of 2:51.11, a new British best and seven-tenths quicker than the old world mark.

“It was chaotic, it didn’t feel super-fast but that was probably because everyone was going so fast,” he said, after a race in which all ten athletes set a new personal best and seven broke the old world record.

“There were some bottom-clenching moments, David Weir went up on one wheel and almost took out half the field but it was just really good fun.

“I wanted the opportunity to race against the best in the world. I’ll have a word with my coach, she’ll know what needs to be done, I know what hard work it takes to get here. I know how much more work it’s going to take to challenge for podiums.”

Daniel Sidbury broke the old world record but still finished sixth in the 1500m T54 final

Six-time Paralympic champion Weir, in his last ever track race, finished tenth in a new 2:53.54 personal best and will now refocus on this weekend’s marathon, a title he won at London 2012.

“I was on two wheels for a good ten metres, I nearly got wiped out by a Chinese athlete and it totally knocked me off balance,” he said.

“I felt I was starting to claw them back, I probably wouldn’t have medalled but I’d have got a faster time to end my career on the track, things like that happen in races.”

David Weir set a new PB in his final Paralympic race on the track

On this weekend’s marathon challenge, where Hug will be looking to complete his gold medal hat-trick, Weir added: “It’s not a course that suits my style of racing, I like a technical course because I don’t train on nice smooth road, I’m always twisting and turning, that’s why I do so well in places like London and New York.

“We’ll see on the day but I’ve trained really well for the marathon, it’s going to be a tough one.”

Elsewhere, world bronze medallist Vanessa Wallace admitted frustration with her fifth-place finish in the women’s shot put F34, as China’s Zou Lijuan became the first athlete to throw beyond nine metres to claim gold.

Wallace was last to compete and admitted the long wait took its toll, as she launched the shot 7.63m.

Vanessa Wallace admits the long wait to compete in the shot put F34 final was tough to deal with

She said: “I felt like a wet piece of lettuce out there, I just didn’t have any power, it wasn’t there. I just felt like I was moving through slow-setting concrete.

“I had a two-and-a-half-hour wait to throw, that’s not an excuse but it’s a factor. I gave it everything that I had but it just wasn’t enough.

“There were some epic throws out there, I’ve got to pick myself up and put the pieces back together. I know I can do it as this level and that puts a bit more fire in the belly. It didn’t happen today but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen again.”

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