BY HIS own admission, Kurt Fearnley has had a "good, bad and pretty ugly" type of Paralympic Games.
After an encouraging start in the 5000 metres [T54] where he came second to arch rival David Weir, the Australian champion faltered in the 1500 final, finishing seventh, and then failed to make the 800 final.
Despite Weir's dominance in London - the British favourite won his third gold medal in the 800 Friday morning Australian time - Fearnley declared that come Sunday's marathon, he would not be intimidated in the race where he was chasing his third consecutive title.
"Fear him? Not a chance. I've had my arse kicked many, many times before. I've also been able to be pretty successful at times. You win races but the following one could be a horror," Fearnley said.
"He's been in great form on the track. For a home Games and to come in with form like this – and he's not pushing against hacks – he's shown us what he can do.
"But for the marathon, it's a different animal. It's an hour-and-a-half and no one finishes the marathon fresh – they're exhausted, done, spent."
Fearnley said he had not been in poor form despite the return of only one silver from three events.
"Feeling good … there's been a few little hiccups in the campaign to date. But now having three full days to recover for the marathon and to sharpen up for pushing on the road, it's not a bad little prep.
"The 5km was about as good a race as I've done, even comparing to some of my gold medal races," he said.
"The 1500 was unfortunate. There were a couple of wrong choices made early on in the race and that shuts down your final lap. That's the lap you need in a 1500.
"The 800 was a bit ugly. When my head told my body to go, it didn't respond very well. That was disappointing as well but in the scheme of things, we came here for Sunday.
The 31-year-old, who is competing in his fourth Games, said he was in no rush to retire.
"I love the team that I'm in and I love the team the Paralympians are and the community we are.
"I was in the middle of Kokoda and crawling on mud for eight days and in that moment I reminded myself what I've got and this atmosphere I get to live in.
"I don't want to give that up yet. I love rolling. My life is about being strong and fast and fit and healthy.
"I get to hang around the most impressive and powerful people I've met in any field in any place in the world.
"If I can hang around these guys for another four years, mate I'll do whatever I can to do it.
Meanwhile, Daniel Fitzgibbon praised his sailing partner Leisl Tesch for putting aside an emotional week in which her mother died after a long battle with cancer, as the pair won the Paralympic gold medal.
Fitzgibbon and Tesch, who have been sailing as a team for only 18 months, sealed the gold by reaching an unbeatable lead with one race to spare. Fitzgibbon, who is the skipper, added that to the silver he won in Beijing; Tesch has won two silvers and a bronze from five Games as a wheelchair basketball player.