Illness cuts down Clegg’s gold rush
LIBBY Clegg became the latest Commonwealth champion to have their participation at the IPC Athletics European Championships placed under a fitness cloud in Swansea.
Clegg was adored by the crowd at Hampden Park as she powered her way to gold for the host nation at the Commonwealth Games in the T12 100m before turning her attentions to the Europeans.
However a double gold medallist in the 100m and 200m at the last Europeans in the Netherlands in 2012, the Bollington-born sprint star was unable to defend her crown in the former, pulling out of the final with a viral infection.
Clegg, who won a second Paralympic silver at London 2012, arrived in Swansea without full fitness after being struck down by illness – and was evidently not at her best in the heats
The 24-year-old scorched to Commonwealth gold in a world leading time of 12.20 seconds but qualified for the final at the Europeans in Swansea as a fastest loser, clocking 12.49.
“I’ve not been feeling well in the past couple of days but it’s just one of those things, I gave it my best performance and that’s all I can ask for,” said Clegg after the heats.
“I just want to go out there and put as good a time down as possible. After not feeling well I didn’t know what to expect anyway.”
And although her below-par semi-final run earned her a place in the final she was forced to withdraw from the competition.
It was another unfortunate note for what had otherwise been a stunning start for the British team in Swansea after six-time Paralympic champion David Weir’s late withdrawal.
Weir pulled out on the eve of the Championships through injury himself – although that did hand Clegg’s guide runner Mikail Huggins the opportunity to captain the British team.
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●● Libby Clegg and her guide Mikail Huggins celebrate with their Commonwealth gold medals following victory in the 100m T12 Final at Hampden Park