Jonnie Peacock is determined to mount a strong defence of his Paralympic title on Friday night in one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the Rio Games.
A 19-year-old Peacock hushed the partisan crowd before sensationally sprinting to gold in the T44 100 metres at the London 2012 Games.
Oscar Pistorius may no longer be a rival – the South African was imprisoned for the February 2013 murder of his girlfriend – but the amputee sprint discipline is full of class.
Jonnie Peacock is attempting to defend the T44 100 metres title he won at London 2012
Jarryd Wallace (left) wins the men’s T43/44 100m ahead of Peacock in London, July 23
Brazil’s Alan Oliveira is among the favourites, alongside Jarryd Wallace of the United States, who won July’s Anniversary Games race at the London Stadium, and Germany’s Felix Streng.
‘We all want to do it,’ Peacock. ‘You talk to Jarryd Wallace or Felix Streng, they all want that gold medal on the day. It will be who can do it.’
The race is arguably the blue riband event of the Games, as it was in London.
Peacock, who has been troubled by injury in recent years, added: ‘London it was easy. I went in there with no pressure on me. Nobody’s expecting you to win.
‘Perhaps I lost my confidence a bit in the last couple of years.
‘Training just wasn’t going quite the way I wanted it to. Weight of expectation, too, maybe. It’s a different pressure.’
Peacock returned to be coached Dan Pfaff, leaving Steve Fudge, and believes he has noticed the benefits already since making the change earlier this year. Pfaff is based in the United States, but gives advice remotely.
Peacock, whose personal best is 10.68 seconds, said: ‘I knew Dan’s stuff worked with me. I’ve already taken two tenths (of a second) off my PB.’
Germany’s Felix Streng (left) races Peacock in the IAAF Diamond League in Glasgow, July 2014
Wallace is the favourite, according to Peacock.
‘Jarryd’s run consistently fast times this year,’ added the Cambridgeshire sprinter, who had his right leg amputated following meningitis at the age of five.
‘He’s the man in my eyes who was always the one to beat this year.
‘All year my thought has been ‘I have to see what I can do to get past Jarryd’.’
Wallace wears a baseball cap backwards, even when sprinting.
‘It keeps the sweat out of my eyes, also it looks good,’ he said.
Great Britain’s Peacock will bid to make Wallace look silly on Friday night in Rio de Janeiro
Peacock will bid to make Wallace look silly on Friday night.
Only after adding to his exploits at London 2012 will he reflect on them.
‘I’ve only watched the tape of the London final a couple of times,’ he added. ‘My mum (Linda) probably watches it every night.
‘I watch it occasionally for technique, but that apart it’s something that when I’ve finished in the sport I’ll sit down with a beer and reflect on.
‘For now there’s more titles to get.’