DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Desmond Jackson was an athlete in search of a sport. Baseball, basketball, soccer and even horseback riding, Jackson tried them all.
“Track was actually one of the last sports I tried,” explained Jackson.
It’s safe to say, he’s found his sport. Jackson’s left leg was amputated above the knee due to a birth defect. It hasn’t seemed to slow him down, though.
An accomplished sprinter, Jackson can compete against able bodied athletes during the regular track season. But at the state track meet he has to run alone.
“You know I’m at peace with it,” said Jackson. “It helps my track team so because of that it’s no problem for me.”
Still Jackson would rather compete against his peers. Those in his circle hope one day he’ll get that chance.
“He does everything he’s supposed to as a regular kid,” argued Jackson’s coach, Jamaal Daniels. “I believe he should be allowed to run with the regular kids.”
Jackson, though, will soon be running against other amputees as he sets his sights on the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. A recent national event north of the border showed Jackson can compete against the best.
“The Pan Am games in Canada, he place third against grown men,” bragged Daniels.
Jackson is excited about his progress and is confident he’ll make the U.S. team.
“Well right now I’m number one in the hundred meters in the United States,” said Jackson. “I would think my chances are pretty high.”
If Jackson does make the squad he will be the youngest member on the team.
“I’m just humbled to be in the position I am today,” admitted Jackson. “Hopefully I’ll keep getting better.”
And Jackson is getting better. He recently cut his hundred meter time from 13.4 seconds to 12.7 in just a month and a half of training.
“I seriously believe the things he’s shown me that he can be that champion that he’s talking about being,” said Daniels.
And next year when he shows up at the state championships to once again run against himself he just might head to the starting blocks with a medal around his neck.