Former Royal Blind pupil Libby Clegg's Paralympic golds

Libby Clegg's road to double Paralympic gold was a little more turbulent than others.

Thursday, 15th September 2016, 10:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:09 pm
Gold medalist Libby Clegg poses on the podium at the medal ceremony for women's 200m - T11 during day 6 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on September 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)

The former Royal Blind School pupil captured her second gold in a week, smashing the paralympic record in the T11 200m final to add to the 100m gold already captured on Friday.

It was a far cry from the events of the last year which saw her lose funding from UK athletics in November after injury forced her out of the IPC World Championships before the sprinter – who is registered blind due to a condition known as Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy – was reclassified as a T11 athlete from her usual T12 category in July, just months before she was due in Rio.

And the events themselves provided even more of an emotional rollercoaster for Libby after suffering an initial disqualification in her 100m semi-final when it was judged she had been dragged by guide Chris Clarke, before being reinstated on appeal.

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Then, in the 200m final, a false start by early favourite and local hero Terezinha Guilhermina saw her disqualified for a false start, a decision which enraged the Rio crowd but opened the door for Libby to go for gold.

The medals are specially designed to make rattling noises for blind athletes.

Speaking exclusively our sister paper The Scotsman, Libby told of a chaotic few days.

“There has been so many hurdles to get over and the racing itself became a bit of an emotional rollercoaster,” she said. “The emotions actually came after I’d won the gold because during the hours between the semi-final and final when the appeal process was going on I was actually remarkably calm because I knew it was out of my control.

“There were a few twists, turns and dramas along the way but as I sit here in Rio with two gold medals around my neck I have to say it couldn’t have gone any better.

“At this point it has only been a few hours since my win in the 200 and it is all still a bit of a blur.

“I spent a long time in drug testing and by the time I was done at the stadium last night my family and friends, who I believe made an appearance on the TV after my race, had left the building.

“But I was able to meet up with my boyfriend who had only just flown into Rio for work. He wasn’t at the stadium but it was good to catch up with him.

“I’ll be catching up with the rest of the gang over the next few days.”

The sprinter is originally from Bollington, near Macclesfield. However, she moved to Newcastleton in the Borders as a child to enable her to attend the Edinburgh school.

Back home in Roxburghshire, dad Peter was up late cheering her on and says her victory is something he’ll never forget. “I’ve just been rewatching it for the umpteenth time, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it,” he said. “I had tears in my eyes before the race even started so I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like for her, she’s worked so hard over the past 15 years to get to this point and we’re so proud of what she has achieved.”