Jonnie Peacock lost his first major final in a decade but still struck bronze in the closest Paralympic race in history.
The two-time men’s 100m T64 champion was forced to endure an agonising wait of over three minutes to find out whether he’d made the podium at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
He paced the track like an expectant father before the scoreboard flashed he’d share the bronze with long-time rival Johannes Floors of Germany after both clocked 10.79 seconds, with the race won by his team-mate Felix Streng in 10.76 secs.
In the end, just three hundredths of a second separated the top four athletes in the race, as Costa Rica’s Sherman Isidro Guity Guity took silver in 10.78s.
Peacock had vowed this would be a Paralympic showstopper and it certainly delivered.
He said: “I didn’t think you could share medals in sprints, has this ever happened?
“I think there’s two ways I take it and being positive, 15-year-old Jonnie would have been so happy with this.
“If that’s not an advert for Paralympic sport in 11 seconds I don’t know what is.
“I expect it to keep going that way. I think the world record is going to be broken very, very soon.”
Peacock’s preparations have been impacted by injuries, while he took time away from sport to compete on Strictly Come Dancing, the first amputee to appear on the show.
But, ever the competitor, there was still a sense of what might have been.
“If you had taken a picture of the race at 60m and said Jonnie that’s where you’re going to be I’d have said, ‘right, I’m taking the gold medal’,” he added.
“It’s a lack of experience on my part, I lost it. All I can do is take full responsibility, it was me, it was my mistake.
“That’s what sport should be about though. You make a mistake in the Paralympic final you should be made to pay for it.”
However, one of Britain’s highest profile Paralympians insists there is more meaning than the result of the race.
“The Paralympics has the ability to change things, 15% of the world is made up of disabled people and we need to be represented,” he added.
“I’m so proud to be a part of it. I feel like this is one of the best sports, the best races, it was a great race and I was happy to be a part of it.”
Elsewhere, Columba Blango clocked 48.78 secs to finish second in his men’s 400m T20 heat and qualify for the final.
“That was a very tough heat to run,” he said. “My advantage is my speed so I tried to maintain it to the home straight and hold on. I gave everything I had to get to the final.
“You never know what is going to happen tomorrow. I just need to relax now and be ready for the final.”
Image courtesy: imagecomms