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Guide-less Clegg wins Emirates admirers despite losing race

Picture by JANE BARLOW. 27th March 2012. Paralympic sprinter Libby Clegg will be representing Team GB at the London 2012 Paralympics. Libby, who is visually impaired, is pictured at the University of Loughborough where she trains.

Picture by JANE BARLOW. 27th March 2012. Paralympic sprinter Libby Clegg will be representing Team GB at the London 2012 Paralympics. Libby, who is visually impaired, is pictured at the University of Loughborough where she trains.

LIBBY Clegg put in a courageous performance at the first major event to be held at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.

The 22-year-old Newcastleton sprinter was forced to run by herself for the first time since she was at school, after guide runner Mikael Huggins strained a hamstring in the warm-up of the British Athletics international match.

The two-time Paralympic silver medalist ended up third – out of three – in the T11/12 80m, but her decision meant she was still seen as a winner by 5,000 spectators in the arena.

Clegg, who has only peripheral vision in her left eye, told reporters that she trains on her own, but has not raced, as running at top speed proves difficult.

She said: “I said to Mikael when I was going to the start it felt really weird without a guide. I felt naked without him.

“It is completely different and, even though I train on my own, he’s vital when I compete. I can’t see the finishing line, so it’s a confidence thing. I don’t know entirely where I am, and he tells me that, or if I need to adapt my technique.”

Huggins said: “It was a call that myself and Libby, and our coach, decided to make. I’m gutted, but I’m proud that she was able to still go out there and race as she did.”

Clegg says she will now decide whether to use a back-up runner in case of further injuries to her guide.

The international match involving Russia, USA, UK and Germany and Commonwealth Select was won by Russia.

 

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