Four of the world's top wheelchair racers hailed increased prize money opportunities ahead of this Sunday's TCS London Marathon ©TCSLondonMarathon

Four of the world’s top wheelchair athletes, all of whom are set to contest the TCS London Marathon on Sunday (October 2), today hailed its increased prize money and also the new equality of rewards from Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM) for series winners.

The elite wheelchair racers at the 2022 London Marathon will be competing for the biggest-ever prize pot in the history of wheelchair racing.

Organisers have increased the total prize structure across both the men’s and women’s wheelchair races by $57,800 (£53,275/€59,600) from $141,700 (£130,520/€146,000) in 2021 to $199,500 (£183,650/€205,600) this year.

The new structure includes increased prize money for each of the top ten finishers, while there are additional bonuses available for course records and the Abbott World Marathon Majors Flying 400 competition.

The winners of the men’s and women’s wheelchair race will receive $35,000 (£32,220/€36,000) each, up from $25,000 (£23,260/€25,775) last year, with second place receiving $20,000 (£18,430/€20,630) and third $15,000 (£13,830/€15,470).

There are incremental increases for all finisher positions down to the 10th-placed athlete, who will receive $1,250 (£1,152/€1,289).

Meanwhile AbbottWMM has announced that prize money for winning the overall Series XIV Championship will be equal between elite wheelchair competitions and will be extended to include the top five males and females in both categories.

Series XIV began at the Tokyo Marathon on March 6 2022, and the champions are due to be crowned at the TCS New York City Marathon on November 6.

Thus all winners will earn $50,000 (£46,250/€51,620), with second-placed athletes getting $25,000 (£23,145/€25,810) down to fifth-placers getting $5,000 (£4,630/€5,160).

"It’s huge," said Manuela Schär, who set a course record of 1hr 39min 52sec in winning her third London title last year and will defend it this weekend.

The winner of the women's wheelchair race at last year's London Marathon Manuela Schar described the increase in prize money as "huge" ©Getty Images
The winner of the women's wheelchair race at last year's London Marathon Manuela Schar described the increase in prize money as "huge" ©Getty Images

"Every time I hear such news it’s overwhelming and it’s like ‘Oh my God, is this really happening?’

"Because when we started it was just for racing and now we are able to do it as professional athletes."

Her compatriot, Paralympic champion Marcel Hug - who also won a third London title last year in a course record and added another title in Berlin on Sunday (September 25) said: 2For us as professional athletes the financial support is very important and this news is huge, not just for us, but I think it is also very important for outside the sports world."

Australia’s Paralympic women’s champion Madison de Rozario, who earned the Commonwealth title in Birmingham earlier this year and won the London race when she last contested it in 2018, added: "It’s incredible for us as athletes.

"But sport is such a pervasive industry and the impact it has on communities is enormous.

"The Paralympics and the Paralympic Movement is the largest movement afforded to not just athletes but people with disabilities globally.

"And so the message that is delivered in terms of how we value that equality between disabled and non-disabled, not just athletes but humans, is incredible."

Britain’s 43-year-old David Weir, who has won six Paralympic gold medals and is seeking a record ninth London win on Sunday, was the fourth on the panel in today's pre-event media conference, and he reflected: "You always have dreams about it.

"It’s nice that they are actually listening to us, and it’s nice to be on a par with the best marathoners in the world.

"I’m thankful that London is the first to put the prize money up and be a benchmark for the rest of the marathons."