“We are actual athletes we do everything able-bodied athletes do. Jonnie trains with able-bodies and I train with able-bodies too. We do everything those guys do and we are just as fast. If you were to cut their legs off, I don’t think they could be as fast as we can.”
As a gold-medal contender in Tuesday evening's (23 July) 100m T44 final, the USA's Richard Browne said his growing rivalry with Great Britain’s Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock is helping raise awareness of para-sport and showing the world that para-athletes are about their abilities not their disabilities.
Paralympic silver medallist Browne, who broke Peacock’s world record on Monday (22 July) by running 10.83, has built up the rivalry with the man who beat him in London with some explosive quotes in the lead-up to their final showdown at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France.
Whilst Browne has been very forthcoming in talking to the media ahead of the race saying he will knock the former world record holder off his pedestal, Peacock has been more reserved, saying he would prefer to let his performances do the talking. He did not accept an invitation to join a press conference alongside Browne to launch the Championships last Friday (19 July) and was reluctant to speak to the media after his semi-final win, a race that saw him post 10.87 - his second fastest time ever.
Browne though is lapping up the attention his rivalry with Peacock is getting.
“It grows the sport. It shows we’re not just cripples or disabled people. We are actual athletes we do everything able-bodied athletes do,” said Browne.
“Jonnie trains with able-bodies and I train with able-bodies too. We do everything those guys do and we are just as fast. If you were to cut their legs off, I don’t think they could be as fast as we can,” he added.
For 22-year-old Browne, he can fulfill a dream that started three years ago when he had his right leg amputated. In 2007 an accident sent him through a plate glass window, which resulted in an arterial bleed that caused his right leg permanent damage. In 2010 after 14 surgical operations he took the decision to have his limb amputated and then in 2011 decided to try para-athletics.
“I have dreamt about being world champion many times - you’ll see that if you follow me on Twitter," he said. "Every time I close my eyes I see myself standing top of the podium with that gold.”
Browne’s run of 10.83 means the T44 world record has come down half a second in the last 13 and a half years. It is no wonder Browne is predicting that come the time of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games the record will be 10.50 seconds.
The men’s 100m T44 will take place at 19:22 and will be shown live on www.ParalympicSport.TV.