Paralympic, world and European sprint champion looking forward to a return to racing as he works towards the IPC World Championships
Jonnie Peacock has only had two winters of full training so far in his career. The winter just gone was one and the other was back in 2011/12 as he prepared for London 2012. He went on to win Paralympic 100m gold that summer, so it’s not surprising that the 22-year-old is eager to get back to the track to see what he’s capable of this time around.
“If I actually look back on my career I’ve only ever had two full winters, including this one,” he says. “Because of changes to coaching, injury, things like that, timing has always messed up around my winter and I’ve never been able to finish it.
“I’m really looking forward because I made a big leap when I had that winter underneath me, so I’m excited to see the possibilities of a second winter and what that will do to my performance.
“I’m in good shape,” he adds. “We’ll just have to wait and see how that translates on to the track.”
With training his focus over the past few months, Peacock hasn’t competed since September last year. Having completed the major medal set last summer with European 100m gold adding to his Paralympic and world titles, the sprinter wasn’t able to end his season on a high as he was beaten by Richard Browne at the Great North CityGames. That followed losses to the American at the Glasgow Grand Prix and Anniversary Games, but Peacock says lessons have been learnt.
“I’m in good shape, we’ll just have to wait and see how that translates on to the track”
“I was honest last year when I said that mistakes were made but we learnt great lessons,” he says. “I feel like because of the lessons we learnt last year we’ve been able to put that into practice and really make sure that things are going as well as they can be.
“Nothing worth having comes easy, we know that, and we knew that it was going to be tough. I fully expected people to get quicker and quicker, I’ve got to just do my best to make sure that my game is at the best it can be. I’m pretty confident that right now we’re in a good place.
“It’s always going to drive me on,” he adds. “At the end of the day I love racing against the best in the world. I feel that last year was tough but it was what was needed. Richard had a great season, he’s still improving, he’s a good athlete and I always expect him to come out and perform well. When it comes to the championships I know that I have got the ability to flick that switch and I will always have the ability to flick that switch.”
Peacock hopes to open his season at Sunday’s Bedford International Games but says further decisions are yet to be made on where he goes from there as he works towards defending his world title in Doha in October. He’s looking for a “smart” season to ensure he’s peaking for the defence of his Paralympic title 10 months later.
“Nothing worth having comes easy, we know that, and we knew that it was going to be tough”
“I have felt for the last couple of years that I’ve been capable of so much more than what I’ve been doing and it’s always frustrating but I have come in with a fresher approach this year,” he says.
“I’m going to try and be as smart as I can this year to make sure that we are in the best possible position for Rio. Yes, we have got the World Championships and that’s something that I really want to perform well at but at the end of the day, the ultimate one that actually counts is Rio.”
Despite having only just turned 22 himself, Peacock has become something of a mentor to younger athletes breaking through and targeting Rio and he, along with wheelchair race Hannah Cockroft, recently spent a session with fellow single-leg amputee sprinter Julie Rogers and wheelchair racer Ben Rowlings as the rising stars were named alongside Peacock and Cockroft as BT ambassadors.
“BT has been supporting me as an athlete for four years now, so I know exactly how their support can help up-and-coming talent,” he explains. “If there is anything I can do to help nurture and develop the next generation of Paralympic talent so that we win more medals as a nation, then I am always up for it.”
» Jonnie Peacock and Hannah Cockroft are BT ambassadors. BT is the long-term supporter of disability sport in the UK