Peter Genyn of Belgium crosses the line to win the Mens 100m T51 final at London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.

Peter Genyn

Athletics | Wheelchair Rugby

A former wheelchair rugby player, Genyn switched to Para athletics in 2014 after breaking his leg when he fell out of his wheelchair on a bumpy road. Advised it was too dangerous to continue playing rugby, Genyn turned to the track and hasn’t looked back.

The Belgian won silver medals in the 100m and 400m T51 at the 2014 European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain, then went one better at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, a year later, finishing top of the podium in the 100m and 400m T51.

Double gold followed at the European Championships in 2016, with a new world record in the 400m T51 too.

At the Rio Paralympic Games, Genyn was on top once again, winning two more gold medals. The King of Belgium called to congratulate him and at the end of the year he received the 2016 Vlaams Sportjuweel (Flemish Sports Jewel), presented by the Flemish government annually to the athlete who has delivered a remarkable and exceptional sporting performance.

At London 2017 Genyn topped the podium yet again, retaining his two world titles.


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment

Further personal information

Partner Veerle Laurens, son Vico [2020]
Kalmthout, BEL
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Dutch, English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up wheelchair rugby in 1993 and switched to Para athletics in 2013.
Why this sport?
His parents encouraged him to continue to play sports after his injury. He played wheelchair rugby until November 2013, but had to stop after he broke his leg. He then began focusing on athletics. "I was always the fastest in rugby, so sprinting was a good alternative."
Club / Team
Wapper VZW: Wommelgem, BEL
Name of coach
Mieke Van Thuyne, BEL

International debut

Competing for
Grand Prix
Nottwil, SUI

General interest

Junior (, 23 Jun 2012)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the T51 100m and 400m at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and winning gold in the 2009 IWAS Wheelchair Rugby European Championship with Belgium. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019; Athlete, 19 Aug 2018)
Most influential person in career
His father. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
In July 2018 he required surgery after dislocating his hip. He recovered in time to compete at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin, Germany. (, 22 Dec 2018;, 18 Dec 2018; Facebook page, 24 Jul 2018)

He broke his femur in 2013 after his wheelchair caught on a large steel pin protruding from the ground and brought him down. (, 17 Apr 2018)

In 2012 he broke his leg after he fell out of his wheelchair trying to avoid hitting a bicycle. He was advised it was too dangerous to play wheelchair rugby after the injury. (, 22 Dec 2018;, 18 Aug 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Do everything to win, but keep it fair." (Athlete, 23 Oct 2015)
Awards and honours
In 2017 and 2018 he was named Paralympic Athlete of the Year at the Sports Gala in Belgium. (, 22 Dec 2018;, 20 Dec 2017; Twitter profile, 17 Dec 2017)

He received the 2016 Paralympic Athlete of the Year award in Brasschaat, Belgium, as well as the 2016 Trofee Victor Boin [Victor Boin Trophy]. (, 30 Mar 2017) (, 13 Jan 2017)

He was Belgium's flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (, 19 Sep 2016)

He was named the 2014 G-Athlete of the Year at the Antwerp Provincial Sports Awards in Belgium. (, 18 Dec 2014)

He was named the Top 1.5 Player at the 2013 Wheelchair Rugby Challenge in Denmark. (, 2013)
Other sports
He played wheelchair rugby for Belgium at the Paralympic Games in 2004 and 2012. (SportsDeskOnline, 09 Sep 2012)
To retain his Paralympic titles in the T51 100m and 400m at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 24 Jun 2018)
At age 16 he dived into shallow water and broke his neck. His injuries resulted in tetraplegia. (, 22 Dec 2018;, 01 Jan 2016; Athlete, 23 Oct 2015, 06 Nov 2019)
Other information
He is a wheelchair rugby coach at Wapper Giants club in Belgium. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)

He has a degree in computer graphics. (Athlete, 23 Oct 2015)


Unit Date Rank
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed Group B 2012-09-05 1
Mixed Group B 2012-09-06 4
Mixed Group B 2012-09-07 5
Mixed Group B - Standings 2012-09-07 4
Mixed Classification 7-8 2012-09-08 102
Mixed Classification 5-8 2012-09-08 201
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T51 Final 1 2015-10-27 1
Men's 100 m T51 Heat 1 2015-10-27 2
Men's 400 m T51 Heat 2 2015-10-30 1
Men's 400 m T51 Final 1 2015-10-31 1
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T51 Final Round 2016-09-13 1
Men's 400 m T51 Final Round 2016-09-17 1
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 400 m T51 Final 1 2017-07-17 1
Men's 100 m T51 Final 1 2017-07-21 1