Elite Wheelchair Winners: press conference quotes
Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schär produced commanding performances to win the men’s and women’s wheelchair titles at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon yesterday, 28 April, and they reflected on their victories with the media this morning.
Twenty-year-old Romanchuk enjoyed his fourth Abbott World Marathon Majors victory in six months to take the men’s crown, and the indefatigable 34-year-old Manuela Schär completed a fantastic ‘grand slam’ of all six Majors races by sealing her second London win by a huge margin.
Romanchuk lived up to the promise of his prodigious talent when he raced clear of two-time winner Marcel Hug over the Flying 400 intermediate sprint challenge shortly before halfway, and showed his dominance again at the end when he pulled away on Birdcage Walk to win in 1:33:38.
Among those left trailing in his wake was Britain’s eight-time winner David Weir who called the talented youngster “frightening”, adding: “He has everything in his locker and has mastered all of it.”
Schär also seems to have mastered her trade as she proved in London yesterday by becoming the first athlete ever to win all six Majors races in one Series. And she did it in style, bursting clear from a loaded field as early as the third mile and opening a huge gap that couldn’t be closed.
She eventually crossed the line almost six minutes ahead of Tatyana McFadden in 1:44:09, a remarkable time given she raced solo for 23 miles, many of them into chilly headwinds.
Here is what they said:
Daniel Romanchuk (United States)
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon men’s wheelchair champion
Romanchuk confirmed his status as the rising star of wheelchair racing with another outstanding performance following last year’s victories on home soil in Chicago and New York, and his win in Boston two weeks ago. The former swimmer, triathlete and wheelchair basketball player, has torn the men’s wheelchair world apart since placing third in London last year. Yesterday he clinched his first world title and now sits proudly on top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors standings, poised to unseat two-time champion Hug when Series XII concludes in Berlin this September.
What he said:
“Yesterday was a wonderful day all around. The weather was great, nice cool, dry conditions.
"The first half went a little slower than typical. There was a pretty decent headwind, a very large pack, and then coming up to Tower Bridge with the sprint everything started to spread out.
"After that, myself, Marcel and Tomoki [Suzuki] got together and rotated through to keep a lead.
"London is a very tactical race with all the turns in it. A very flat, fast race. At the Finish, I think we were naturally separated, one was on the left, one was on the right, so we just naturally split.
“At the end, there's not much left to go: sprint! I never ever say a race is finished till everyone has crossed the line.
“I haven’t thought too much about my next goal, I’m just going to jump right back into track racing, the next marathons are later in the year."
Manuela Schär (Switzerland)
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon women’s wheelchair champion
The Swiss racer regained the world marathon title she last won in 2013 yesterday and effectively sealed the Abbott World Marathon Majors crown for a second time as she became the only athlete to win all six Majors races in one cycle. After placing fourth last year, the world record holder arrived here in supremely confident mood with five victories behind her. Her time yesterday was some five minutes outside her course record, but the manner of her win was devastating to the opposition.
What she said:
“Yesterday went perfectly. My plan A worked, even though it was difficult with the wind all by myself. So, it was a tough one but a good one.
“I always try to make a break as soon as possible because I’m really bad at the sprint finish. It was the perfect race for me.
“Of course, it is a special one because so many things came together yesterday. It was the London Marathon, which is a pretty big deal in itself and a world marathon title, which is awesome too, and then the six in a row for me.
“So it was a very, very special day and no one can ever take that away from me.
“I think there should always be time to celebrate. You have to enjoy what you have achieved. I enjoy spending time with good friends and good people.”