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Paralympic Champion David Weir Plans London Academy To Find Future Stars

06/04/2013 13:16 BST | Updated 06/04/2013 13:20 BST

Six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir launched an academy today to help the elite athletes of the future.

The Weir Archer Academy will work alongside sporting authorities to develop Kingsmeadow Athletics Stadium in Kingston upon Thames, south west London, into world-class facilities.

Weir, who is founding the academy with his coach Jenny Archer, said it was important to nurture the talent of tomorrow.

The wheelchair racer, who won four golds at last year's Paralympics, will have a hands-on role at the centre with plans to mentor the athletes it takes on.

He said: "It came from an idea that me and Jenny had years ago. When I was in Beijing (for the 2008 Olympics) I was thinking about our squad and looking at the other nations.

kingsmeadow

Weir's academy will be based at a refitted Kingsmeadow stadium in south west London

"I thought if no one's going to do something I think I should do something and help the next generation as I don't want our hopes to die in this country - I knew I was getting a little bit older.

"I'm glad that we've not just stuck with wheelchair racing, we've got other sports involved too, although it's mostly athletics."

Weir added: "Getting the best out of your body is about more than just pushing weights and covering miles and miles on the track.

"It's also about getting the right coaching, advice about nutrition, psychological development and harnessing all that science has to offer.

"Jenny and I want to build such facilities here at Kingsmeadow and make them accessible to all athletes - young, old, disabled and able-bodied alike."

Speaking of being a mentor, he said: "I've been doing it for years anyway, I'm more on the technical side and Jenny's the brains of the programme.

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Weir, one of the greatest paralypians ever, won an incredible four golds in London last year

"It's great just talking to the kids really and just being there. Even when I'm watching from the sidelines in my wheelchair I can see they're trying that little bit harder just because I'm there."

Weir said his next focus was the London Marathon later this month.

He added: "I'm feeling in pretty good shape. I'm really looking forward to the next couple of weeks, I just hope it's warm so I can get a bit more speed work in my training."

The academy launch was taking place at the same time as the Surrey County Disability Championships. Weir said he was impressed with the turnout of around 100 competitors.

"It's a nice day for a change - the sun's out," he added.

The event also saw the unveiling of a plaque celebrating to celebrate Weir's success and links to Kingston AC and Polytechnic Harriers who train at the stadium.