Paralympian’s Brazil dream boosted by sponsor deal

Libby Clegg and ESPC's Malcolm Cannon are in it for four years. Picture: Julie Bull
Libby Clegg and ESPC's Malcolm Cannon are in it for four years. Picture: Julie Bull
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LIBBY Clegg’s bid to win a Paralympics gold medal in Rio in 2016 has been boosted by a four-year sponsorship deal announced yesterday.

The visually-impaired runner and former Edinburgh Blind School student will receive almost £50,000 under the arrangement funded by estate agency ESPC.

Libby is aiming to better her two silver medals won at Paralympics level and said the sponsorship would take the pressure off, allowing her to concentrate on training. The 22-year-old’s training regime includes ten sessions, six days a week.

She said: “I’m a full-time athlete, so I don’t have time to get a normal job – running is my job.

“Being sponsored by ESPC will help me massively, funding competitions and any training expenses, whether I’m in the UK or going abroad. It’ll also cover travel expenses and help me pay for kit.”

Libby only has slight peripheral vision in her left eye and is registered blind.

The sprinter competes with a guide runner.

Her personal best time of 12.13 seconds in the final of the T12 100m at last year’s London Paralympics earned her a second silver medal in the event in the space of four years.

The ESPC deal will allow Libby to compete in a series of six Paralympic grand prix events being launched ahead of next year’s eagerly-anticipated Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Libby’s other immediate concern is defending her T12 100m title at the International Paralympic Committee Athletics world championships in Lyon, France, in July.

She said the coverage of last year’s Paralympics had helped disabled athletes in securing sponsorship deals.

“In London, that’s the most coverage that we’ve ever had,” Libby said. “That’s really helped – more money’s been put into the Paralympics because of that, but obviously it needs to continue on through our European and world championships to maintain the level of interest.”

Libby will write a blog on ESPC’s website. She is expecting a hero’s welcome when she visits the Royal Blind School on Friday for the first time since last year’s feats at the London Paralympics.

ESPC chief executive Malcolm Cannon described Libby as an inspiration for the people of the Capital. The agency first started sponsoring the runner in 2011.

Rugby teen aims for World Cup

A TEENAGER who owes her Scottish rugby debut to a financial support scheme says she’s now setting her sights on qualifying for the World Cup.

Sarah Law, 18, who lives in Penicuik, won her first cap after appearing in Scotland’s opening match of the RBS Women’s Six Nations against England earlier this month.

Her dream was made possible by Midlothian Council’s Sports Performers Awards Scheme which provides financial assistance to talented and promising talent.

Sarah said: “It’s a great honour to represent your country at any sport and I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to do so. Hopefully we can continue to improve as a squad and can qualify for the World Cup in France in 2014.”

The former Penicuik High School pupil has been playing the sport since the age of six.

Dad Andy said: “We’re obviously very proud of her. She’s worked very hard and so she thoroughly deserves it.”