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Friday, September 7, 2012

Here's Jonnie! British sprinter Peacock wins the battle of the blades to claim Paralympic gold... 14 years after he lost his leg and almost died from meningitis


Record-breaker: Jonnie Peacock celebrates winning the 100m sprint final for Britain in a Paralympic best time of 10.90secs

A British teenager who lost his leg after contracting meningitis as a boy became a Paralympic hero tonight as he won gold at London 2012.
Jonnie Peacock, 19, won his eagerly-awaited sprint final against fellow blade runner Oscar Pistorius to become the 100m champion in a Paralympic record time of 10.90secs.
The success for Peacock, from Shepreth, Cambridgeshire, was all the sweeter given his remarkable recovery from a condition which almost killed him 14 years ago.

Winner: Jonnie Peacock poses with the Union flag after defeating South African athlete Oscar Pistorius to claim the title of the world's 'fastest amputee'

Peacock was only five when he contracted meningitis in October 1998.
He was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where he lay in a coma for four days with doctors warning his parents that he may not survive.
Blood poisoning meant that surgeons had to amputate his right leg just below the knee to rid his body of the deadly infection.

Peacock v Pistorius

But he was determined not to be beaten by his disability and fought to enjoy his childhood as much as possible, even cycling with his sisters.
His improvement was so dramatic that his family had their benefits cut only 18 months after he was taken ill.
When medics assessed Peacock in 2000, they were so impressed by his athleticism that they decided he could move like any other seven-year-old.

Star of the future: A photograph of Jonnie Peacock, taken before he lost a leg after contracting meningitis at the age of five

It meant the weekly payment to his mother of £92.25 in disability benefit was halted for six months from February 2000.
The family appealed against the decision and the Benefits Agency agreed to make payments of £51.30 a week in mobility allowance.
The agency also agreed to backdate the missed payments and guaranteed that the family would receive financial support until Peacock was 16.

Fighting spirit: Peacock, pictured as a six-year-old on a family holiday in Florida with his mother Linda and sisters Bethany and Rebekah, was determined to remain active after his leg was amputated

Peacock was inspired to remain athletic after he met England football stars Michael Owen and David Beckham on a visit to watch the national team in 2000.
That year he was also able to take up ballet and, fitted with an artificial limb, he attended weekly dance classes at his local village hall from the age of eight.

National heroes: Peacock was seven years old when he met England footballers Michael Owen (left) and David Beckham with his mother Linda (right). The meeting inspired him to become an athlete himself

Out in front: Britain's Jonnie Peacock (L) crosses the line first to win ahead of South Africa's Arnu Fourie (green and gold vest) and US athlete Richard Brown (right)

His proud mother Linda Roberts, now 46, said Peacock had been a fighter ever since he lost his leg.
Ms Roberts, of Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, added: 'A doctor told me my little boy had 48 hours to live and that now was the time to say goodbyes. But I couldn’t.
'People say he’s wonderful because he’s achieving all these great things but for me he doesn’t have to win a race for me to be proud of him.

Role model: Jonnie Peacock fought back from adversity to reach the very top as a Paralympic athlete

source: dailymail

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