London 2012: David Weir wants Olympic Stadium legacy

By Elizabeth HudsonBBC Paralympic sport reporter
David Weir
David Weir

Paralympic champion David Weir wants the Olympic Stadium to remain an athletics venue after London 2012.

A decision on the future of the stadium is due later this month, after West Ham's deal with Newham Council collapsed last year.

Although an athletics track will remain at the public-owned venue, which Weir does not want a football club to become tenants after the Olympics.

"We have got to keep this track for the future legacy of the sport because it is a fast one for wheelchair racing," Weir told BBC Sport after competing on the track for the first time.

"I just hope that a football club doesn't take over the stadium and it stays for athletics."

Fellow wheelchair racer Shelly Woods also believes the stadium's future is key to the sport's development as they build towards the Paralympics in Rio in 2016 and beyond.

"We don't have a national stadium where we can host major championships or British championships," she said.

"We usually host events at Crystal Palace but for us wheelchair racers it isn't a great venue because is a slow track and everyone wants to come when it is fast.

"It is important to leave a legacy for aspiring youngsters. It's nice for us to have a national stadium. Everyone else does - why don't we?"

There were world records for three British athletes in Tuesday's test event at the venue.

Hannah Cockcroft became the first Briton to break a world record at the stadium, bettering her own T34 100m world record while double amputee Richard Whitehead improved his T42 200m record by 0.19 seconds to 25.50 seconds.

There was also a world best for T36 athlete Paul Blake in the 1500m in a race where Northern Ireland's Paralympic champion Michael McKillop beat his own T37 world mark.

Double Beijing champion Weir said he was hoping to break the world record in the 1500m, eventually missing out by four seconds but still clocking a UK Athletics Paralympic A standard with two minutes 58.46 seconds.

"World records can definitely be set here, as we've seen today, but probably not at the Paralympics where people aren't there for times - they are there to win," he said.

"I texted [fellow wheelchair racer] Mickey Bushell a few days ago and said I would go for the world record in the 1500m today if the conditions were right.

"I knew after about three laps it would be tough and I was struggling a bit, but I really wanted to get under the three-minute mark.

"I'm still in a transition stage from marathon to track but it is all going well so far. I've got a lot of speed behind me after my distance stuff and I'm in good shape."