Paralympian Libby Clegg took time out from her busy training schedule last week to promote the work done by staff at Edinburgh’s Royal Blind School.
The Cheshire-born sprinter, who moved to Newcastleton at the age of 12 is one of Great Britain and Scotland’s most successful track and field athletes of recent years.
A Paralympic silver medallist, and current world champion in the T12 100m and 200m sprints, Libby suffers from a deteriorating eye condition known as Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy disease – giving her only slight peripheral vision in her left eye.
She is registered blind. Despite this, she has achieved an amazing amount for such a young athlete and with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games already on the horizon, she is training hard for more medal glory on the international stage.
Libby quit her base at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Stadium three years ago, and now trains six days a week alongside a number of leading Olympic prospects at UK Athletics’ centre of excellence in Loughborough, where the facilities include indoor and outdoor tracks, and sports science and medical teams.
A residential pupil at the Royal Blind School from 2002 until 2008, Libby was recently appointed ambassador, and speaking at the National Braille Week Exhibition, Libby said: “I had a fantastic time at the Royal Blind School. My two brothers James and Stephen came here as well, and Stephen only finished at the end of June this year.
“I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of the people here. They let me go to all these warm weather training camps and competitions all over the world, and they supported me, and I would just like to thank everyone for that support.”
Afterwards, Libby told The Southern about her preparation for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
She said: “I’m really excited at the moment as I have been pre-selected for the 100m. All the athletes will tell you that part of the thrill is getting the tracksuit and kit and I am getting measured at the end of the month.
“I am training 10 times a week over six days with only Sunday off. I run with a guide runner and the rules are that he can’t finish in front of me or pull me over the line, although I sometimes wish that he was allowed to do that.”
Libby is not the only athlete in her family as brother James is a Paralympic swimming bronze medallist and her boyfriend is Scotland Rugby Sevens star Michael Maltman.