Richard Browne ready to be No. 1

By Jamie M. Blanchard | June 12, 2013, 11 a.m. (ET)
Richard Browne
Jonnie Peacock of Great Britain won the men's 100-meter (T44) race over American Richard Browne at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Do it when it counts.

On Monday, Great Britain’s Jonnie Peacock indirectly tweeted that advice to Richard Browne, who unofficially tied the 10.85 world record in the men’s 100 meter (T44) race Saturday in Montverde, Fla. The record will not stand because the Star Athletics Sprint Meet is not sanctioned by International Paralympic Committee Athletics, the global governing for Paralympic athletes.

“We are friendly rivals with a lot of respect for each other,” Browne said. “I think Jonnie and I can take Paralympic track and field to the level of able-bodied track and field. The world should take notice. Jonnie and I are getting faster and faster.”

Records will count at the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships in San Antonio, Texas, which start Friday. Browne is one of more than 120 athletes who will compete for a berth on the U.S. team that will compete at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, July 19-28, in Lyon, France.

“I hope to give another great performance like I did last week but I’m not trying to set a world record in San Antonio,” said Browne, who is recovering from knee and hamstring issues. “I would like to tie the world record or do even better but my goal is a 10.9. No 11-anything in this meet. That’s the real goal.”

Browne, who had his leg amputated following a 2009 accident, will not be at 100-percent in San Antonio but expects to be in better shape than in Florida.

“A week prior to the race in Florida, I got off crutches,” he said. “The doctor said to take it easy but with nationals coming up, my coach and I just wanted to see where my knee was at and if it could hold up.”

It held up to world record pace.

“I don’t know if it was just the world class competitors like Richard Thompson being there, because it was an able-bodied meet, or what,” Browne said. “I don’t know what sparked that. It felt like I was running at the Paralympics again.”

Thompson won a silver medal for Trinidad and Tobago in the men's 100m at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Browne finished second to Peacock at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in the men’s 100m. Peacock set the world mark (10.85) at the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Trials – Track and Field in Indianapolis, eclipsing the 10.91 mark set by U.S. Paralympian Marlon Shirley in 2007.

 Richard Browne
Richard Browne celebrates on the podium at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

“I can demolish that world record,” he said.

“I don’t want it to be close.”

He hopes to do it Lyon.

“Jonnie was one of my first competitors when I did the Diamond League meet a couple years ago,” Browne said. “We’ve been 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 every time for the past two years. Jonnie has always been one. I want to be No. 1.”

By the world championships, Browne expects to have trained consistently for a month.

“I’m at maybe 85 or 90 percent,” he said. “My knee is still sore right now. I think I will be a close to 100 percent in Lyon.”

But first, he has to make the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field World Team, which will be announced by June 18.

“The real goal for San Antonio is to make it onto that world team,” Browne said.

Browne, who specializes in the 100 and 200m, will have to contend with familiar foes in San Antonio including his top American rival Blake Leeper, who won a silver medal in 400m in London and a bronze medal in the 200m.

The two will not race together, as Browne is a single, below the knee amputee and Leeper is a double, but their times will be compared as both are vying to be the country's fastest amputee.

What does Browne need to stay ahead of Leeper?

“I just need to run through the finish line first,” Browne laughed. “Just keep running.”

Leeper was the top American finisher in the 100m last year in Indianapolis, when the single and double amputees raced together. He holds the T43 world record, 10.91, with South African Oscar Pistorius.

“The fact that someone like Blake Leeper is behind me is great,” said Browne, who is expecting his first child in September with wife Winnie.

“That’s where I want to keep him.”

For more information the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships, June 14-16, in San Antonio, including a schedule and results, click here.

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