Richard Browne vows to return to London in record-breaking form

A brief sabbatical from professional sprinting has done nothing but boost the spirits of T44 100m and 200m world record-holder Richard Browne, who remains as outwardly confident as ever ahead of the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017.

08/05/2017 13:30

“You’re going to see a better Richard Browne than you saw in 2015,” the American vows.

It’s quite some claim given 2015 was very much Browne’s year. Never one to mix his words or downplay his talent, Browne made promises two years ago to dominate the world and he did just that, breaking single-leg amputee world records in both the 100m and 200m – 10.61 and 21.27 – as he raced to two titles at the 2015 World Championships in Doha.

Instead of building on his success with his first Paralympic titles and treading yet more new ground as he had planned doing last year, his Rio aspirations were left devastated by a hamstring tear.

Browne prematurely called a halt to his sprinting career before reversing his decision early in 2017 once his body had fully healed.

While in retirement, the fastest single-leg amputee in history said he sat at home in Atlanta, Georgia, watching while Jonnie Peacock and Liam Malone sprinted to titles in Rio which Browne felt were sure to be his, had he shown up fit.

“Everybody knows if I was there, (Peacock) would have lost by a lot. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, he would have lost,” says Browne.

“After watching the Games last year and watching the times that popped up I have a point to prove. I’m guessing the times this year will be a lot quicker than they were (in Rio).”

While Browne returns to action, ready to renew his encapsulating rivalry with double Paralympic champion Peacock, the classification will lose Malone this year after the New Zealander confirmed he would miss the championships to treat an ongoing injury.

Both Peacock in 2015 and then Browne last year missed major championships, and the double world record-holder believes the frequency of injury in recent years among the world's top amputee sprinters is a result of the speed at which they are competing among one another to advance their sport to new levels.

“We’re at that level where everyone wants to be better. No amputees have ever run this fast. We’re in a golden age for it where everyone is trying to do new things,” he says.

“Lots of guys are pushing the envelope and trying new things, pushing our bodies beyond what we can really handle. You can tell with some results; me popping my hamstring, Jonnie was hurt for Doha, Jarryd (Wallace) was hurting in Rio and now Liam being hurt.

“Of course we want to run fast. We don’t want to stay at the same level so you have to train for that. Sometimes our bodies don’t cooperate with our brains. But we’re learning. Like I said, it’s a golden age.”

Browne is back on track though and clocked an 11.14 in the 100m last month. Right now he’s some distance from where he promises to be when he lands on British soil for the biggest World Para Athletics Championships in the event’s history.

But at just “70%” fitness, Browne is glad to be back on the road to doing what he does best: running fast and prophesying.

“I’m going to come to the World Championships and I’m going to run 10.3. I’m going to be the fastest amputee. I’ll break both Alan Oliveira’s (T43) records – the 10.57 and 20.66. That’s what I’ll say,” he says.

“It’s a great track and a great atmosphere. It’s going to be electric in the stadium. I’m really looking forward to being in front of that crowd. No one supports Paralympic sport like London. It’s going to be great to just be in that stadium and that environment – it juices you up.”

Tickets to the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017, taking place at the London Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 14-23 July, are available at https://tickets.london2017athletics.com