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Bushey boy, Rio Woolf, meets his Paralympic idol Jonnie Peacock
Six-year-old aspiring Paralympic athlete Rio Woolf said it was "awesome" to train with his hero, Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock.
The youngster from Bushey Heath took part in a short coaching session with the gold medalist at the BT Great CityGames in Manchester to try out his new blade and prepare for a run he is taking part in later this month.
The Hartsbourne Primary School pupil was born without a tibia, knee or ankle joint due to a rare condition called tibial aplasia.
His leg was amputated when he was 14-months-old and his NHS prosthetic was so heavy it dragged behind him when he tried to run after friends in the playground.
With Jonnie ’s help, Rio now has a lightweight running blade and dreams of emulating the Paralympics gold medallist in a few years.
Rio’s mother, Juliette Woolf, said the coaching session was "fantastic". She said: "It was a dream come true for our little blade boy to get back on the track."
The coaching session was the first time Rio was able to run on the track with his new blade which was designed especially for him with a shell foot so that Rio can now wear a pair of trainers for the first time.
Rio is the first child in the UK to receive this new blade which is based on the original Cheetah blade that Jonnie wears.
Mrs Woolf said: "Jonnie was wonderful with his biggest little fan, giving Rio lots of technique tips about his starting position in the blocks, patiently running up and down the track repeatedly with Rio for an hour."
Jonnie, who had his right leg amputated below the knee at the age of five after meningitis, said: "Rio is great little boy and he obviously loves running and sprinting. He’s made amazing progress since I first met him in 2012 and has taken to his new blade really well. It’s a real learning curve for any young person when they get a blade and he’s doing brilliantly. I didn’t start sprinting until I was 16 so Rio has a massive head start on me.
"I think it’s great that Rio is taking part in the National Lottery Newham London Anniversary Run. He really enjoyed it last year and I hope he can inspire others to get active and join in on the 20th of July. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a fantastic venue and I hope Rio and everyone running with him has a great day."
Rio is taking part in The National Lottery Newham London Anniversary Run on July 20. The 5-mile course is set in the Olympic Park. To join in, visit www.anniversaryrun.com