Jonnie Peacock encourages disabled people to enjoy the positive benefits of sport

Jonnie Peacock and Bernard the Bear

Jonnie Peacock and Bernard the Bear - Credit: Archant

Paralympic gold medal winner Jonnie Peacock is encouraging disabled people to get into sport.

The Olympian athlete from Doddington joined an event hosted by disability charity Papworth Trust along with Living Sport and Ability Plus.

The three organisations have joined forces to encourage more people to try disability sports in the local area.

Jonnie, who took part in a recent campaign to encourage disabled people to develop an “I can” approach, said: “Sport helped me find my direction as a teenager, so I’ve seen the positive effect it can have.

“I hope I can encourage other people to get into sport too.”

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Schools and disability organisations attended the event which took place at the Papworth Trust’s headquarters at the Bernard Sunley Centre in Papworth Everard.

Project leader Linda Roberts said: “Sport has a positive and therapeutic influence on people with and without disabilities.

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“It increases social opportunities and community involvement, as well as opening up voluntary and training opportunities such as coaching.

“This event aims to show people what’s available locally, and to encourage them to get involved.”

Sporting groups attending were from a range of sports including football clubs, a rowing club, bike groups, a snooker club, archery and golf.

At the age of five Jonnie contracted meningitis resulting in the disease killing the tissues of his right leg, which was then was amputated just below the knee.

Wanting to play football, he was directed to a Paralympic sports talent day when he asked about disability sport at the hospital that fitted his prosthetic leg.

He ran his first international race at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester in May 2012 and in June 2012 he set a new 100 metres world record in amputee sprinting at the United States Paralympic track and field trials, recording a time of 10.85 seconds.

At the 2012 Summer Paralympics, he won the 100m final with a time of 10.90 seconds, claiming the gold and paralympic record in the process.

He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to athletics.

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