5 January 2013Gold medal hero Jonnie Peacock will run in just one big event as athletics turns its back on the Paralympics
'Well, there's the IPC World Athletics Championships in Lyon, France, next July,' he says. 'And that's it.'
He smiles rather wryly and shrugs his shoulders. Peacock can look forward to collecting an MBE inside Buckingham Palace at some point over the next few months as well, but what he wishes for more is meaningful competition and believes, if this does not materialise this year, it never will.
'It's no use waiting for the Rio Paralympics to come round in 2016,' says the 19-year-old, sporting the beard of a man who has, by his own admission, reverted to living like a student in recent weeks. 'If we don't seize the fantastic opportunity London has presented sport with, the moment will be lost. It's now or it's never.'
What the teenager fears more than anything is his sport reverting to the role it had before last summer. 'We were nothing more than a "filler" at athletics meetings,' he says. 'That's if we were invited at all. We were like the cheerleaders coming on at half-time to entertain the crowd in between the main event.
'It felt as if the event organisers were only inviting us because they wanted to come across as nice guys. Look where we appeared on the schedules. It was mostly before the meet had barely begun. We just weren't taken seriously enough.
'Even in Britain, which has led the way when it comes to Paralympic sport, we weren't getting it right. I ran in a mixed sprint at Crystal Palace, for example, which I won but the guy who came second, Richard Whitehead, actually broke a world record for his discipline. It went virtually unnoticed. If you're going to include us then don't be stupid and feature mixed classes. If you're going to do it, do it right.'
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