Athletics concludes at London Paralympics with the marathon
Monday, September 10, 2012
London, England — Yesterday, on the final day of competition, athletics concluded at the London Paralympics with the running and wheeling of the marathon for the men's , and , and the women's . Spain and Great Britain both had a gold and a silver medal, Brazil and the United States had a gold each, Switzerland had a silver and a bronze medal, Colombia had a silver medal, and Tunisia, Australia and Belarus each had a bronze medal.
Alberto Suarez Laso of Spain set a world and European record in the T12 marathon with a time of 2:24:50. In the same event, Tunisian Abderrahim Zhiou set an African record with a time of 2:26:56 and Colomobian Elkin Alonso Serna Moreno set an Americas record with a time of 2:26:39. Despite failing to get a medal, Japanese Masahiro Okamura set an Asian record with a time of 2:28:51. In the women's T54 event, Australianset an Oceania record with a time of 1:49:37.
Great Britain's gold medal was earned by, and was Weir's fourth gold medal earned in the London. This put Weir at the top of the individual gold medal count for London alongside Raymond Martin of the United States. Tatyana McFadden of the United States had a chance at four gold medals in London, but was unable to seriously compete after a pair of tire punctures mid-race that seriously slowed her down. McFadden conveyed her experiences in the race to the media, saying, "At 18 or 19 miles it went again, this always seems to happen to me in London. Luckily, I had a spare but I was bombed out. I just wanted to sit and cry but I also wanted to finish, there was only about six miles to go and I was determined I wasn't going to get another flat tyre]. [...] Finishing is the most important thing for me, it makes you a better person. I just wanted to compete and stay strong."
Swiss racer Edith Wolf quit the women's marathon mid-race after running into a hole on the course that left her without feeling in her left arm and neck, and required her to be hospitalized. Following the race, Wolf's husband and coach told the media, "She was really looking forward to the marathon. She was really prepared, so I think she's really disappointed. I think tomorrow she will wake up and see her four medals and she will be very happy." When questioned about the media, some of whom disappeared at the conclusion of the men's race, and specifically the media from Wolf's home country, he said, "There are not so many media here, which is disappointing. But now they have recognised this is really a great Games. This is the second biggest sports event in the world and they are not here, so it's their loss, they missed a big chance."
Colombia's German Naranjo Jaramillo served as Elkin Alonso Serena Morena's guide for the length of the marathon. Because of this, Jaramillo also earned a silver medal. Gold medalist Laso of Spain and bronze medalist Zhiou of Tunisia utilized multiple guides, and the guides were not eligible for medals. Other runners in the men's T12 marathon who had the same guide the whole race included ninth place Ildar Pomykalov of Russia who was guided by Aleksei Lashmanov, and Henry Wanyoike of Kenya who did not finish but was guided by Joseph Gachuhi.