Updated: Sunday, 19th November 2017 @ 8:06am

Jonnie Peacock will still enjoy 'great spectacle' of Great CityGames despite being unable to compete

Jonnie Peacock will still enjoy 'great spectacle' of Great CityGames despite being unable to compete

| By Ric Sumner

While a frustrating back problem may have ruled him out of competing, London 2012 champion Jonnie Peacock knows just how important this weekend’s BT Great CityGames is to Paralympic athletes.

The unique event, which takes place on a 150-metre, purpose-built track through Manchester city centre, sees the world’s best able-bodied and disabled athletes take centre stage side by side.

The IAAF-certified track and athletics arena, in the city centre’s Albert Square, is one of the few occasions in the athletics calendar to give T44 100m gold medallist Peacock and co the same media exposure as their Olympic counterparts – making it doubly frustrating for the 20-year-old sprinter to miss out.

“I’m really looking forward to the BT Great CityGames in Manchester,” said Peacock ahead of the event on Saturday.

“It’s unfortunate that I’m not going to be able to compete because of the lack of training that I’ve been able to get into because of my injury but it’s a great spectacle.

“What’s great is that it’s different to other events, you’re not just on a track you’re in the middle of a street.

“It’s got its own individual atmosphere and all the athletes will tell you it’s an amazing one to do, everyone enjoys it and it’s definitely one to watch.

“The BT Great CityGames is actually a really important one for athletes purely because it’s one of the only events where Paralympic athletes are side by side with Olympic athletes and you don’t get that at most other places.

“As an athlete that’s so cool because you’re warming up next to people and you actually feel like you belong there a little bit more and it brings up the performance side of things just because you look and these Olympic athletes pull you along.”

Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford and world 400 champion Christine Ohuruogu, who races over 200m, are the star attractions on the day.

But the event also see the likes of the ‘BlondeBabe’ Marlou von Rhijn, the Dutch T44 200m and 100m IPC world champion, taking on Brits Sophie Kamlish and Laura Sugar.

And after a spell on the sidelines Peacock, now based at Loughborough University, can’t wait to get back into action with the IPC European Championships later this summer firmly in his sights.

“2014 has been an interesting one so far, I just had a small injury at the beginning of the year, a lower stress in my back that means I can’t actually run and unfortunately it’s one of these injuries where the only thing that gets it better is just rest,” added Peacock, who last competitive outing was winning the 100m at the BT Great North CityGames back in September in Gateshead.

“I had to lay off the running a bit and just do weights but we’re back to running now which is all that matters and I seem to be in a better position now than I was in December.

“Being a sprinter all I really want to do is sprint and so when I’m not allowed to do that it’s a little bit frustrating but it gave me time to knuckle down in the gym and was just a chance to get stuck in.”