25 June 2015Jonnie ready to walk the line
The next 18 months is undoubtedly going to be the biggest test of Jonnie Peacock’s career. Three years on from his Paralympic triumph in London, the 22 year old is one of a number of contenders vying for world glory at the IPC World Championships in Doha in October and gold in Rio next year.
Already in 2015, four athletes have dipped below 11 seconds including long-term nemesis Richard Browne, who clocked the fastest time of the year in posting 10.78 (+1.4) at the USA para-championships last weekend. With London 2012 gold medallist and world record holder Alan Oliveira also returning to fitness after a 12 month sabbatical, Peacock is well aware of the threat that his competitors pose to regaining his global crowns.
The sprinter said: “I need to keep doing what I'm doing and putting it down on the track. It's been a really good year seeing Felix (Streng) and Jarryd Wallace go sub-11. I said that in an interview last year that they'd do just that, so I was happy with my prediction.
“It's going to be really competitive for sure with the likes of Richard (Browne) and Alan (Oliveira) as well. We could have five or six guys going sub-11 in a final which would be amazing. It's going to be super competitive, I've just got to make sure from my end I'm executing a clean race and at the moment I feel like it's slowly coming together. I feel much better than last year, so it's all about progress.”
While the British blade runner doesn’t play mind games with his rivals, Browne has recently admitted that he’s “a wanted man” because of his opinionated and loud nature. However, while expressing his unwavering respect for his American counterpart, Peacock feels no need to enter into the conversation but merely run the times that will put him in contention to win the major medals.
“It's just what he needs to do really. Everyone has their own way of going out there and performing their best and he obviously feels he needs to get into peoples' heads, which is fair enough. I understand completely every athlete has their own way of going about things but at the end of the day it's the track that does the talking and it's as simple as that. I don't really take too much notice of words, I take notice of times and performances. That's why I always have a big respect for Richard as a competitor because at the end of the day, he's got fast times and can compete at a very good level," added Peacock, who added European gold to his long list of accolades last summer in Swansea.
“The way I look at things at the moment is that my biggest rival is Alan (Oliveira). He has started the year slower than what people expected him to, but he had a year off. I fully expect that in six months, he's going to be back where he should be. In 18 months, he's going to be really pushing for something. He's the guy that has run 10.6/10.5 and those are the times all the rest of us are chasing and looking towards to think about a nice shiny medal at the Worlds and Rio.”
Browne aside, Peacock has made an encouraging start to the season with three sub-11 second performances, including last week when he ran 10.96 in difficult conditions at the England Athletics U20/23 Championships in Bedford.
“I did well in Bedford in May (ran 10.80 with a +2.4) but there was quite a bit of a tailwind, but I think last weekend was a lot better. I was happy with my start and the first 20m, but I spoke to my coach (Steve Fudge), who said I let my foot off the gas a little bit. There are a lot of improvements to be made. It was a wet day, 15 degrees and I'm a tenth away from my PB.
“I’m definitely going in the right direction. It's my third race and the times are looking like they're going to come down, it's just conditions really. I'm off to Nottwil this weekend, so hopefully I’ll get a fast time there.”
His confidence has been strengthened by the performances within his training group recently and believes that this positivity can only help him in his quest to run faster as he prepares for the Sainsbury’s British Championships on 3-5 July at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium.
“When you see Asha (Philip) in her first race running a PB, it always fills you with confidence that you're in a good programme. I sent him (Steve Fudge) a text last year after Adam (Gemili) ran 19 and now there’s two athletes in two years running sub-10 over 100m, so it's not bad going. It was a huge shame that Adam over dipped (after running 9.97 at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix), but he's a really strong guy and he's going to come back from it. That mental barrier of going sub-10 has gone now and it's going to stay with him forever.
“Last year it (the Sainsbury’s British Championships) was my first race because of injuries, but this year I'm stronger and I've made more improvements. Birmingham seems to be a special track for Steve's group at the moment. He's had the sub-10s there so we'll have to wait and see. If the conditions are nice maybe we'll have some fast times. If I can execute a clean race, who knows what's going to happen, but the way I've got to look at it is I've got to nail my start, push down that track and hopefully the time will be a good one.”
You can buy tickets to watch Jonnie take on the country’s best at the Sainsbury’s British Championships by visitingwww.britishathletics.org.uk/british-athletics-series/sainsburys-british-championships/