With six months to go, Jonnie Peacock believes Rio de Janeiro 2016 will ‘reignite the Paralympic spark’
- Credit: Andy Hooper/Daily Mail
It’s six months until the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Paralympic games get underway – and Doddington-based sprinter Jonnie Peacock has backed this year’s games to “reignite the Paralympic spark” that he helped light in London four years ago.
Peacock shot to fame after taking gold in the 2012 games in the 100m, and the 22-year-old is itching to get back onto the track in Brazil in September.
He said: “I’m feeling good at the moment. We’ve made some big changes and things are progressing in a way I’m happy with.
“Everyone will be back together this year and I’m sure we’ll have some fun. Rio is going to be a hard act to follow, that’s for sure. I truly believe that Rio 2016 is going to reignite the Paralympic spark.”
The sprinter, who broke the T44 Paralympic world record four years ago, is set to reignite his fierce rivalry with American sprinter Richard Browne this summer.
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The pair have traded places on the podium at number of competitions since the Englishman took gold in 2012, but Peacock is confident he can take on anyone in six months’ time.
“I’m more than happy to race everyone and anyone,” said the paralympic record holder.
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“I’m putting a lot more work in this year than I have in any other year. You want to know that you’re the best on the day. It’s all about beating the best – everyone is going to want that gold medal.”
After sprinting to success in London, Peacock went on to win further gold medals in the World Championships in 2013 and the European Championships a year later. But despite making the headlines for his scintillating performances on the track, the athlete still believes there is room for improvement.
He said: “The biggest thing I learnt from 2012 was knowledge that sometimes you have to figure out what doesn’t work to find out what does work.
“I’ve learnt so much about myself over the last few years. In 2014 I was in a bad place, mentally. But now the way I approach races has changed.”
Jonnie, whose lower right leg was amputated after he contracted meningitis as a five-year-old, helped fire Team GB into the limelight in 2012, and the man from Doddington is delighted that the nation – and the world- is taking Paralympic sport more seriously.
“More people are realising its there and giving it a go, which is great,” he said.
“It used to be more club level, but since 2012 it’s moved on. Team GB has improved so much, and as a whole, Paralympic sport has just moved on.
“Before, people looked at disability as a disadvantage but things are progressing, and now it’s about the sport. I’m proud to see that happen.”