Commonwealth Games gold medallist Libby Clegg has had the plug pulled on her UK Athletics funding.
Libby, 25, who was brought up in Newcastleton and has family in Langholm, lost the national governing body’s support after pulling out of the IPC world championships in Doha last month with a foot injury and also missed last year’s European Championships through illness.
With the 25-year-old having won the T12 100m in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year, along with Paralympic, world and European medals over the past four years, omission from the latest round of UKA funding came as a shock to most.
But Libby says she is not surprised by the decision to drop her from the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) for the 2015-16 cycle. The visually-impaired sprinter knew her withdrawal from the World Championships was likely to be fatal for her chances of retaining funding.
“It wasn’t actually a surprise for me because I knew I needed to medal at the World Champs to retain my funding,” said Libby who is now based in Charnwood.
“The Paralympic programme is brutal because there are so many medals on the World Class Performance Programme, so it’s more difficult to stay on funding. Obviously, for me this year with how things went at the World Champs and how the event has moved so far forward, I understand that it would be difficult to keep me on funding.”
The head coach for the UKA Paralympic team, Paula Dunn, justified the decision to remove Clegg by citing her lack of improvement in terms of personal bests since 2012.
Clegg has yet to improve upon the 12.13 and 25.10 times she set at the London Paralympics, and neither the 100m nor 200m times would have achieved a podium finish in Doha.
But Clegg is determined to use the decision to axe her as motivation.
“I do feel that this is an opportunity for me. It might be what I need. I definitely don’t think this is the end.
“Sometimes you need to take a step back to take a step forward, so I’m not looking at it negatively.”