27th November 2011
Jonnie Peacock, 18, from Cambridge.
Jonnie was five years old when he contracted meningitis and had to have his right leg amputated just below the knee. Since the operation he has had a number of reconstructive skin grafts by BAPRAS plastic surgeon Per Hall, with several revisions to reconstruct his stump, including removing some growing bone and moving some tissue under the stump.
Despite his traumatic start in life, Jonnie has always been determined to not let his disability affect his life. Shortly after having a rudimentary prosthesis fitted Jonnie attended his junior school sports day where his mum asked the headmaster if he could have a race and they agreed to a 100 metre hop. Jonnie removed his artificial leg and bounced home at least 20 metres ahead of his peer group - there wasn't a dry eye on the sports field. It is this determination that has steered him through life and now fuels his dreams to enter the Paralympics in 2012. Jonnie recently broke the European Record for the 100 metres, within his category, with a PB of 11.47 seconds.
As a result, UK Athletics has decided to move Jonnie to London to train with other athletes and to be mentored by Dan Pfaff, who has coached over 33 Olympic athletes. Initially UK Athletics had seen Jonnie as medal potential for 2016 but are now investing all their efforts into him for a result next year.
Per Hall says: "Jonnie is one of those people I feel tearful about because he is so fantastic. Now to see him is an inspiration. His sprint times are extraordinary and I am hugely proud."
UPDATE- January 2013: Since this article was written, we are pleased to report that Jonnie not only went on to win Paralympic Gold in the 100 metres but was onstage at the sports personalities of the year awards and has just been awarded an OBE in the Queens New Years Honours