The American blade runner wants to come out on top in rematch with Jonnie Peacock in the Brit’s back yard
When Jarryd Wallace, a good college runner, had his leg amputated in 2010 he set himself a target of making the US team for the London Paralympics.
About 12 weeks after the amputation, he began running. Six months after the amputation, he started focussing on training full-time and his first competitive race came a week before the anniversary of when he lost the limb.
Wallace ran 11.9 for the 100m and 24.01 in the 200m to qualify for the US Championships – where he was third and fourth – and a year later he achieved his goal of competing in London.
“London 2012 was surreal,” he says. “It was an amazing opportunity. My target had been to overcome adversity and to make the US team, so just to be there was unbelievable. But, on top of that, I was able to race against some of the best athletes in the world.
“London 2012 also opened my eyes to Paralympic sport and got me really excited about being involved in the Paralympic community. London did such a tremendous job in hosting the event and really changed the perception of disability in the UK.”
Looking ahead to the World Para Athletics Championships taking place in the UK capital from July 14-23, he adds: “Having seen it happen before in London, I am excited to have the meet back there and we are hoping that we can re-capture the 2012 spirit.”
Wallace is also excited about how competitive the 100 metres in the T44 class is at the moment.
“We have been very fortunate in our class to have a strong base,” he says. “It is nice to know that each year when we get the best eight guys together, it’s going to be a great race and a great show.
“As an athlete, you thrive off the people who are supporting you and you see it as an opportunity to build a fan base.”
Wallace was a state champion in middle-distance running before having to have his leg amputated after complications during an operation for compartment syndrome.
The American is passionate about promoting and developing Paralympic sport, suggesting that races be “promoted in a way that will get the crowds there and make it less about profit and more about awareness and opportunity for exposure”.
Wallace went into the Rio Paralympics as T44 100m favourite but instead finished fifth behind winner Jonnie Peacock.
However, at London 2017 he is looking forward to renewing his rivalry with the Briton. “He is a great competitor and he’s become a great friend as well,” says Wallace of his rival.
“It’s always fun to have him on the circuit. He is a great guy to race against and have in the sport.”
» The 2017 World Para Athletics Championships from July 14-23 and the IAAF World Championships from August 4-13 will bring together 3300 athletes from more than 200 countries. It will be the first time the two events will be hosted by the same city in the same summer. Buy tickets at paraathleticschampionships.com and iaafworldchampionships.com