WINNING another Paralympics medal after track retirement would count among David Weir’s “greatest achievements”.
The returning South Londoner wheelchair racer quit the GB set-up after crashing in the men’s marathon on the final day of a personally disastrous Rio 2016 Games.
Fuming Weir claimed a coach – who is in Tokyo this month – “stabbed” him in the back and unfairly accused him of throwing the 4x400m relay during a nightmare time in Brazil.
Yet despite being left empty-handed five years ago, the six-time Paralympic champion is glad he has made a high profile U-turn.
And any form of success in Japan this week would be the crowning glory of a magnificent career.
Weir, who won four golds at London 2012, told SunSport: “I’ve come here on a positive note that if I don’t even win a medal, it’s a massive achievement for me.
“Before Rio, a lot of pressure was put on me because of what I did in London. I don’t think people, even myself, I really appreciated what I did in London.
“But the pressure of delivering four gold medals took its toll.
“Obviously, I’m here to win medals and that’s my gameplan in Tokyo.
“But I wouldn’t be absolutely distraught if I don’t win a medal because these are my sixth Paralympics – and that’s a massive achievement for any athlete.
“A medal will be an absolutely bonus in my career, even if I win a bronze medal, as it would be one of my best ever won.”
Weir, who competes in the 1500m, 5,000m and marathon, said: “It would just be nice this time to finish some races! What happened in the marathon was so unlucky and I was so devastated that it had to finish like that.
“I don’t want to finish my career and look back it was all doom and gloom in Rio.
“I’d like to get through the whole week and make myself proud.
I’ve come here on a positive note that if I don’t even win a medal, it’s a massive achievement for me.
David Weir on Tokyo Paralympics
“This might be my last big international race I ever do. That’s the mindset.
“I feel comfortable in my own skin and racing chair. I could retire tomorrow if I wanted to.
“The individual from Rio will be here. But we will stay out of each other’s way I suppose.”
The 16th summer Paralympics start tomorrow and even at the age of 42, Weir has been posting personal bests following a track event in Switzerland in May.
The Weirwolf, who became a household name during the summer of 2012, believes it is time that Paralympians receive the same prize money and commercial deals as their Olympic counterparts.
Amputee sprinter Jonnie Peacock claimed last week a Paralympian might get £500 compared to the £30,000 top deals for Olympic stars.
Weir said: “We need more athletes to speak out about this.
“Prize money at major events is not equal pay even though we do the same distances like the marathon.
“I want to fight for the next generation. I want the next generation of wheelchair racers to be household names.
“I want them to be like a Mo Farah where they earn enough money where they can retire and not carry on until they are 40-odd.”
Source: The Sun