Peacock struts as Team GB beats Paralympic medal target

Sep 7, 2012

Storey, Weir and others win gold, but sprinter Peacock steals the show with blistering 100m

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TEAM GB passed its target of 103 medals at the London Paralympics in style yesterday with another rush of golds. Cyclist Sarah Storey won a record-equalling 11th career gold, wheelchair racer David Weir trounced the field yet again to win his third title of the Games and 19-year-old Jonnie Peacock set a Paralympic record on his way to victory in the T44 100m final.

There were also golds for sailor Helena Lucas, teenage swimmer Josef Craig and Hannah Cockcroft, who had the honour of winning Britain's 104th medal of the games, as she won the T34 200m final.

But despite the heroics of Storey, who has equalled the gold haul of Tanni Grey-Thompson and David Roberts, the seemingly unbeatable 'Weirwolf' and the other winners, the night belonged to 19-year-old Peacock.

Before the race, the crowd, whipped up into a frenzy by Weir's 800m victory minutes earlier chanted 'Peacock, Peacock' until the 19-year-old put his finger to his lips and begged for silence.

"It was a magical moment in a stadium that has witnessed many over the past few weeks," said the Daily Mail. "And at the centre of it was a teenager who had been concerned spectators might not even know who he was before his run in the heats on Wednesday."

There was more drama before the gun as Alan Oliveira, the controversial 200m winner, toppled over and the field had to be re-set. But then the race got underway and "in the battle of the Blade Runners, the young British musketeer cut the opposition to shreds", reported The Independent.

He broke the Paralympic record as he finished in 10.90 seconds, ahead of American Richard Browne and South African Arnu Fourie. The defending champion Oscar Pistorius was relegated to fourth.

"Britain has found the Usain Bolt of blade running," said The Daily Telegraph. "A fresh lad from Cambridge with a demonic flash in his eyes and a frame that powers down the track with thunderous intensity."

Afterwards Pistorius, who had been accused of sour grapes after coming second in the 200m, was full of praise for Peacock. "What people were able to witness tonight was the beginning of a phenomenal career for Jonnie Peacock," said the South African, who must realise that the English sprinter has the potential to take his crown as the world's most famous Paralympian.

"The expectation is that he will simply go faster and faster until pressure builds on him to follow Pistorius into non-disabled competition," said the Telegraph, although it added that the prospect remains "remote" for now.

But he is now an icon said The Times. "The new-found status of the Paralympics is such that it is not stretching the point to suggest that Peacock is the most exciting thing in British sprinting — disabled or not."

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