Shelly Oxley-Woods unhappy as Commonwealth Games rules deny her marathon medal

Blackpool's Shelly Oxley-Woods was left feeling “let down” after being denied a Commonwealth Games bronze medal despite finishing third in the women's wheelchair marathon.

By Andy Moore
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 8:00 am

That's because there were only four competitors in the gruelling Birmingham race, and Games rules state that just two medals will be awarded in events with fewer than five entrants.

Oxley-Woods, 36, feels she was entitled to a Commonwealth medal to add to her three from the Paralympics after taking third place in 2hrs, 4mins, 39secs.

The Team England racer told The Gazette: “It isn't fair. They only told us the evening before and didn't give us clarity. Why is my third place less worthy of a medal than the guy's who finished third in the men's race?”

Shelly Woods battled hard to finish third in the marathon in Birmingham but was denied a Commonwealth Games medal

The ruling is designed “to maintain the integrity” of the competition but Woods added: “It's not my fault they didn't fill the race, which they should have done, so I’m a bit disappointed and upset.”

Only two nations were represented: Australian Maddy de Rozario defended her title in 1.56.00 and Oxley-Woods' England teammate Eden Rainbow-Cooper, took the other medal in 1.59.45.

“I don't know if Covid was still a factor but you'd have to ask the organisers why they didn't fill the race,” added Oxley-Woods. “England could have taken more places and who is to say I wouldn't still have finished third with 10 athletes taking part?”

England para-cyclists Sophie Unwin and Georgia Holt were denied a tandem medal for the same reason, despite winning what was billed the 'bronze-medal race'. Oxley-Woods too could feel hard done by after her efforts on a course widely acknowledged as one of the toughest in Games history.

“Yes, it was brutal and very hilly,” she said. “The climbs were a challenge, and it wasn't as though you could get anything back on the downhills because there were turns at the bottom. But I did it.”

The experience hasn't dented Shelly’s enthusiasm as she prepares to repeat last year's feat of three top marathons on successive weekends, with Berlin (September 25) quickly followed by London and Chicago. But first comes her beloved Great North Run on September 11.