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David Weir: It’s time TV ups its game with wheelchair London Marathon coverage

“Nothing against the BBC but I feel they could have done a bit more on the coverage for the wheelchair side”

“People say they want to see more of my race. The options and technologies are there”

David Weir has called on TV companies to bridge the “massive gulf” between able-bodied and wheelchair coverage of the London Marathon.

Paralympic legend Weir goes for a record ninth London title today [Sun] in what could be the last year of the world’s greatest marathon being broadcast by the BBC.

With the Beeb’s contract up after this weekend LM boss Hugh Brasher admits to having spoken to other terrestrial broadcasters.

Weir, who won his first title in 2002, says he is reluctant to criticise the BBC as they have been a constant throughout the 41-year history of the race.

But he urged whoever takes the coverage forward to “spend more money on covering the wheelchair division”.

Weir said: “Nothing against the BBC but I feel they could have done a bit more on the coverage for the wheelchair side.



Weir wins 2017 London Marathon
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Image:

REUTERS)




“When I won in 2002 I thought ‘I have done it, I have made it’, not money wise, but people would talk about it, there would be more progress. Nothing.

“That’s when I realised there was a massive gulf between Paralympics and able-bodied. After winning a big race like that, I thought I would get a contract from Nike. But it never happened. No phone calls. Nothing.

“The BBC have been there since the beginning and I feel they could do a little bit more. There are options now with the technology – you could have the red button.



Weir argues that London Marathon wheelchair racing makes for great television
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Image:

REUTERS)




“Give people the option to watch the whole wheelchair race. We have a bike camera for most of the race.”

Weir, 42, added: “I remember watching Eurosport years ago. It was a week before London when (the) Boston (Marathon) used to be.

“I didn’t think there would be any wheelchair marathon on yet they had split screens and had the whole race.



Weir: “Give people the option to watch the whole wheelchair race”
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Image:

PA)




“I feel that whoever gets it, give us another platform. Give people the option because people say they want to see more of my race. It’s not up to me, but the options and technologies are there.”

Despite returning without a medal from a second straight Paralympics this summer, the four-time gold medalist from London 2012 insists his 22nd consecutive London Marathon will not be his last.

“I have always said to myself that I would retire on the London Marathon,” he said. “This is where it started and I want it to end here. But I have not put a date on it.”


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