‘Gobsmacked about the way I was treated’

David Weir

Weir had a miserable time in Rio – his fifth Paralympics

Six-time Paralympic champion David Weir has accused British Athletics wheelchair racing coach Jenni Banks of making remarks that were “belittling” and “hurtful”, after confirming he will never race for Great Britain again.

Weir, 37, did not win a medal at the Rio Paralympics – his fifth Games.

He told BBC Sport he was “gobsmacked” by the way he was treated, and claimed Banks had told him he was a “disgrace to the country”.

Banks said she did not want to comment.

“Not once did she come and see if I was OK that week,” said Weir. “I felt it was a bit poor given the amount of medals I have won and because I had one bad week.”

Weir, who will compete in April’s London Marathon, also said Banks accused him of not performing to the best of his ability in the 4x400m T53/54 relay heats in Rio.

Britain finished a distant second behind China and failed to qualify for the final.

“She said ‘I know you have done that on purpose’,” Weir said. “I just felt why would I throw a race? To upset her? I was here to win medals for myself and my country.”

Weir was, however, unable to confirm reports Banks had thrown his racing wheelchair during a row in Brazil.

“I don’t really know about the chair because I didn’t see it,” he said. “It’s only what I have heard from other people.”

‘There was a frank exchange of views’

Australian Banks joined British Athletics in late 2012 as lead wheelchair racing coach.

She had previously worked with the Australian Paralympic Committee and at one stage coached Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Banks is in her native country with a training group of British wheelchair racers including Hannah Cockroft, who she coaches.

British Athletics said in a statement officials had met with Weir to get his feedback on his experiences in Rio and are working to learn from them.

“We can confirm there was a frank exchange of views between an athlete and the relay coach following the race when the GB men’s wheelchair team failed to qualify for the final,” the statement read.

‘I could never represent Britain with her on the team’

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Weir wins fourth gold medal in Paralympic marathon

Weir, who won four gold medals at London 2012 to add to the two he claimed in Beijing four years earlier, was critical of Banks’s appointment.

His long-time coach and mentor Jenny Archer was among those passed over for the role.

But he insists his decision to quit track racing and miss this summer’s World Championships in London is final, even if Banks were to leave her role.

“I could never represent Great Britain if she was still on the team,” he said. “It wouldn’t be fair on the team. I don’t want younger athletes to see there is an atmosphere.

“But this will not take anything away from what I did in London. Rio was Rio. No-one can take away the biggest sporting achievement of my life.

“I have put my heart and soul into racing for Great Britain. I’ve had a lot of pressure on me over the years to deliver medals.”

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