Great Britain’s Jonnie Peacock and the USA’s Richard Browne may be big rivals on the track, but there is one thing they agree on.
The pair line up for another thrilling battle over 100m at London’s Olympic Park on Sunday 26 July for the IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final – part of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games – and both believe the T44 world record is set to fall.
Peacock beat Browne to Paralympic gold on the same track back in 2012, catapulting the 22-year-old into the public eye. He followed that up a year later with another win over Browne to clinch the world title in Lyon, France.
But it is the American who holds the world record – his time of 10.75 set at the very same venue, at the Anniversary Games in the British capital in 2013.
“This is going to be a great preview to the World Championships.” said Browne. “We can recognise and see where we are at this time of year. We will have a bit of time to see what we can work on. 10.69 - that’s what I’m aiming for.
“I really like that track - pretty much every time I run there I get a personal best. I got my 2012 silver medal there, then I broke the world record there. I’m definitely looking forward to going back as I’ve got good memories. With a good wind and a good start, I think I can run faster.”
Peacock believes his great adversary could be right:
“For sure, I think if we get some good conditions – the conditions when that world record was set were fantastic – bang on the legal wind limit. If we get something like that again, 100 per cent I think - like he says - there are many athletes in that field that have the chance.
“It’s one of the fastest tracks in the country, probably in the world, so it’s a great opportunity. It’s going to be a really special moment just to get there. The reception’s always amazing and the fans always get behind the athletes, which is great.”
Four athletes will line up in the men’s 100m T44 in London having already run under 11 seconds this season. Whilst Browne tops the rankings after a scintillating 10.78 at the US National Championships last month, his compatriot Jarryd Wallace sits in second place after winning the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Tempe, Arizona, USA, in 10.92.
Then there’s Germany’s Felix Streng, who at 20-years-old recorded his first sub-11 second time at a meeting in Germany six weeks ago, clocking 10.97.
“It’s been a really good season for the T44 class. We’ve had four guys under 11 seconds so far, so it’s going to be a really fast race,” acknowledged Browne, who believes it is Peacock – who has yet to race against any of the world’s best this year - who will pose the major threat.
“He’s running really well this season, I know he ran 10.80 [wind assisted] and he’d been looking forward to getting back into form, so I’m definitely looking forward to next week because he’s in that form where he could get the world record himself.
“I’m definitely going to have to go out and execute a really good race. It’s going to be really fast times between first, second and third.”
Peacock meanwhile is quick to return the compliment. But such talk could well be part and parcel of the build up around a major event such as the Anniversary Games – the last chance to earn bragging rights before October’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“If you look at the times this season he’s gone a lot quicker than me, legally too, so at the end of the day he’s got the fastest time, he’s the guy to beat,” said Peacock.
Still, whilst Peacock may have reason to underplay his capabilities and keep the mind games flowing, the Briton has spent this year working on technical aspects of his race. He now believes he is in better shape than he was 12 months ago.
“In the technical elements I feel like I’ve 100 per cent moved on. I’ve got a lot more running underneath me already this year than I did last year.
“We really wanted to try and get my start down to a consistent basis, because last year we didn’t really have that there – it was good one day, and not so good the next. I feel like as the competitions go on, it is getting a bit more consistent.
“I’m just really excited to get it out and put it down in that stadium – it’s going to be amazing.”