“He ain't no rival...I beat him every time we race!"
The USA’s Richard Browne ran one of the fastest ever 100m T44 on Sunday (20 July) at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in London, Great Britain, before apologising for a comment made at Paralympic and world champion Jonnie Peacock during an amazing post-race interview.
After running 10.90, the fastest time this year and just 0.15 seconds outside his 11-month-old world record, Browne looked at Peacock who finished second in 11.00 and told British broadcaster Channel 4: “He ain't no rival...I beat him every time we race!"
Last Saturday (13 July), Browne beat Peacock by 0.01 seconds at a meeting in Glasgow, Great Britain, and also had the better of his 21-year-old British opponent at the 2013 Anniversary Games, a race that saw him run 10.75 to break his own world record.
However, in the races that have mattered – the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships - Peacock has a 100 percent record of taking gold. In both races Browne had to settle for silver.
Browne later took to Twitter to apologise for his post-race comment which, according to his Twitter feed, appears to have been the result of Peacock not signing an autograph for a fan.
"I truly apologize for my unprofessionalism in the post race interview. Nd hopefully i didn give paras a bad name.
"I shud have handled myself with a lil more class instead of allowing him to upset me to dat level. Hes a great athlete not so great person."
It is not the first time that there have been tensions between the two.
In June 2013, Peacock incensed Browne with a tweet saying: "Do it when it counts and from the front then maybe I’ll take notice……. ;)" after the American had unofficially equalled Peacock's then world record of 10.85 seconds.
Browne responsed by saying he wanted to knock Peacock off his pedestal at Lyon 2013 and ahead of Sunday's race in London both had told Channel 4 that the rivalry between them could not be described as 'friendly'.
Away from the post-race drama, the men’s 100m T44 was an absolutelythrilling race. Not only did Browne and Peacock set fast times, but so did South Africa’s Arnu Fourie and Germany’s Felix Streng, who finished third and fourth respectively.
Fourie, the London 2012 bronze medallist ran 11.10, just 0.02 seconds outside his best, whilst 19-year-old Streng ran a personal best of 11.20. After consistently bringing his times down all season, Streng should now be regarded as a serious medal contender for next month’s IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain.
In other events at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, which took place on a specially constructed track on Horse Guards Parade, a number of athletes who will feature at Swansea 2014 were in action.
The three most likely contenders for gold next month in the women’s long jump T44 went head-to-head with Great Britain’s Stef Reid taking the victory. Last weekend, Reid set a new world record in Glasgow jumping 5.47m, and she was in good form again on Sunday winning with a leap of 5.39m. Marie Amelie le Fur (5.21m), the former world record holder, was second and the Netherlands’ world champion Iris Pruysen (4.69m) was third.
In the women’s 100m T34, Great Britain’s double world and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft (18.44) recovered from a slow start to take victory ahead of the Netherlands’ Paralympic and world silver medallist Amy Siemons (19.38).
Speaking to Channel 4 afterwards, Cockroft said: “My next competition is the IPC European Championships in Swansea; I seem to be in good shape leading into it and I still have a few weeks of training ahead of me and then I can go for it and see what happens."
Another British world champion, Sophie Hahn (13.48), also showed she is in great form ahead of the European Championships with victory in the women’s 100m T37/38. The 17-year-old held off a spirited challenge from Russia's former world record holder Margarita Goncharova (13.67) to take the win. The two will meet again at Swansea 2014.
Four-time London 2012 Paralympic champion David Weir of Great Britain rolled back the years and sent out a warning to his rivals with a convincing win in the mile T53/54. In a race that took place down The Mall, Weir (3:20.00) always looked in control finishing ahead of the Netherlands' Kenny Weeghel (3:21.00)
"I feel like I'm fitter and faster this year than I was in 2012,” Weir told Channel 4 after the race.
Weir will lock horns again with Canada's Josh Cassidy, who finished fourth in Sunday's race, on 31 July at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, whilst Switzerland’s Marcel Hug, a winner of five world titles at Lyon 2013, awaits Weir in Swansea.
Also heading to the Commonwealth Games is Aled Davies, who will captain the Welsh team in Glasgow. On Sunday he won the shot put F42 with a throw of 14.02m.
Poland's Michal Derus (10.87) won the men's 100m T47 in a season's best, as did Rhys Jones (11.99) who won the men's 100m T36/37.
Around 560 athletes from 39 countries will compete at the Swansea 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships between 18-23 August.