David Brown ready to re-write record books

US sprinter believes he is back to his best ahead of Arizona Grand Prix 20 May 2019
male vision impaired sprinter David Brown holding up the USA flag

Paralympic champion David Brown believes he can break more world records in 2019

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By World Para Athletics

“I’m back in physical and mental health, everything is starting to line up. I’ve been enjoying the season so far and I’m excited to see where it goes. It’s almost like a whole new me, which is cool.”

Five years on from smashing the men’s 100m T11 world record, Paralympic champion David Brown believes he has rediscovered the winning formula that will enable him to go even faster. With the Parapan Am Games and the World Championships both taking place this year, not to mention the clock ticking down to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Brown’s new lease of life couldn’t come at a better time.

“I’m getting back to race form – how I was back then in 2014,” said Brown, who will race the 100m and 400m T11 at the Arizona Grand Prix, which begins on Friday.

“Five years ago I was only two years into my professional career. I was doing a lot of things, but not really understanding why I was doing them. I didn’t have a grasp on everything; I was still a baby,” said Brown, who clocked 10.92 in California in 2014, the first in his class to go below 11 seconds.

“I even told my coach (Joaquim Cruz) this year that I feel like we’ve been training back in 2013 or 2014 time. He was like, just calm yourself, we’ve got a long way to go – firstly to November for the World Championships and secondly the overall goal in Tokyo.

“I still feel like I’m new, because I’m just – seven years in to this – discovering ‘oh, this is what worked before, let’s get back to this.’”

‘A whole new me’

A return to the type of shape he was in five years ago will be particularly welcome to Brown, who has found maintaining his form notably difficult since winning his first world title in 2015.

At Rio 2016 the vision impaired sprinter suffered an injury during the 200m which meant he was unable to start the 400m; in the build-up to London 2017 he suffered a muscle strain.

“Every season I’ve always had an injury. Now I’ve cleaned up some things and I’m getting back to how I was in 2014,” explained the 26-year-old.

“I’m back in physical and mental health, everything is starting to line up. I’ve been enjoying the season so far and I’m excited to see where it goes. It’s almost like a whole new me, which is cool.”

Brown’s confidence was given an extra boost after he finished 2018 as the number one T11 sprinter in the world.

He’s also enjoying new challenges, and has started training for the long jump as well as racing the 400m again.

“I always wanted to get back to running the 400m. Now I have a new guide for that distance, Connor Faint, and he’s taken on the task very well,” said Brown, who still works with guide Jerome Avery in the 100m.

“I opened up with my fastest ever this year, so once we start fine tuning some things who knows what we can do.

“With Jerome I run on the outside, but I’m on the inside of Connor. Balancing that out was tough at first, but the more you do it the easier it gets. When Connor came in, I instantly started him on my right side, so we wouldn’t start any bad habits.”

Into the unknown

As for the long jump, Brown decided to give it a go at the beginning of this year.

Initially hesitant – not least because he has to sprint to down the runway by himself, having spent years as a blind sprinter tethered to a guide – Brown is currently working on his run-up before attempting to add a leap in to the unknown. He is however looking forward to the chance to jump.

“Its scary because I know I have to go straight, then it’s like, cool, I’m running by myself! With nobody attached!” he laughed.

“I’ll jump wherever I can jump. If it’s lined up for me to be able to do the long jump at the Worlds then I’ll do it. I just want to get a mark first and go from there.”