Font size bigger Font size smaller
Imagen
Chris Clarke and Libby Clegg of Great Britain in action during the women's 100m - T11 Semifinals at the Olympic Stadium on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

Libby Clegg

Athletics
2
2

A change of class to T11 in 2016 resulted in a change of fortune for Clegg who went on to complete the sprint double at Rio 2016.

In the 100m T11 heats in Rio, Clegg opened with a European record of 12.17 seconds and then clocked a world record 11.91 in the semi-finals.

The final was an absolute thriller. Clegg crossed the line in 11.96, 0.02 seconds ahead of China’s Guohua Zhou. World champion Cuiqing Liu was third.

Full of confidence, Clegg went on to secure gold in the 200m T11 smashing the Paralympic record in the final with a time of 24.51.

She was named a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2017.

Rio was Clegg’s third Paralympics. At London 2012 she won 100m T12 silver, a medal she also won in the same event in Beijing in 2008.

Clegg has competed in four World Championships, making her debut in 2006. She has since won five world medals, including 100m T12 gold at the 2011 World Championships in New Zealand.

In 2014 she won 100m T12 Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow, Great Britain. Illness limited her performances at the 2014 European Championships and an ankle injury sustained whilst warming up for a race in Doha, Qatar, cut short her 2015 World Championships.

Clegg took up Para athletics at age nine, the same age she was diagnosed with Stargardt macular dystrophy, a condition resulting in her having only slight peripheral vision in her left eye.

Her younger brother James won a bronze medal in swimming at the London 2012 Paralympics, and her partner Dan Powell competed in judo at the same event. Her younger brother Stephen participated in swimming at the Rio 2016 Games.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T11, F11
Guide
Chris Clarke

Further personal information

Family
Partner Dan Powell, son Edward [2019]
Residence
Loughborough, ENG
Languages
English
Higher education
Massage Therapy, Physical Education - Loughborough College: England

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up the sport at age nine through the Macclesfield Harriers and Athletic Club in England.
Why this sport?
"I fell in love with running the first time I was taken to an athletics club. I discovered that I liked being competitive. I'm quite shy but running gave me a social environment without having to be too sociable. It was about two years before I won anything, but I really enjoyed the chase."
Club / Team
Charnwood Athletic Club: Loughborough, ENG
Name of coach
Joe McDonnell [club], GBR

International debut

Year
2006
Competing for
Great Britain
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Assen, NED

General interest

Nicknames
Libby, Betty (elizabethclegg.co.uk, 06 Jun 2013; channel4.com, 07 Apr 2011)
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the 2019 World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, less than a year after giving birth to her son. (bbc.co.uk, 10 Nov 2019)
Most influential person in career
Her mother. (Athlete, 09 Dec 2010)
Hero / Idol
British wheelchair racer David Weir. (elizabethclegg.co.uk, 06 Jun 2013)
Injuries
In May 2017 she sustained a calf injury during training and was ruled out of the 2017 World Championships in London, England. (athleticsweekly.com, 25 May 2017)

She suffered an ankle injury in the warm up ahead of the 200m semifinal at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. The injury forced her out of the championships. (bbc.co.uk, 26 Oct 2015)

A viral infection prevented her from competing at the 2014 European Championships in Swansea, Wales. (bbc.com, 23 Feb 2016)

She injured her hip in 2007. (uka.org.uk, 18 Jan 2010)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She usually sits away from other athletes before a race, listening to an audio book or music. (inews.co.uk, 06 Sep 2016)
Awards and honours
She was flag bearer for Great Britain at the opening ceremony of the 2018 European Championships in Berlin, Germany. (IPC, 20 Aug 2018)

She was named Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [MBE] in the 2017 New Year's Honours list. (bbc.com, 31 Dec 2016)

She received the Findlay Calder Trophy from Scottish Disability Sport in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. (scottishdisabilitysport.com, 01 Jan 2019)

She was named Scottish Athletics Para Athlete of the Year in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. (scotstats.net, 01 Jan 2019)

She received the Dallas Trust Trophy in 2014 from Scottish Athletics. (scottishathletics.org.uk, 25 Nov 2014)
Famous relatives
Her younger brother James won a bronze medal in swimming [S12 100m butterfly] at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and her partner Dan Powell competed in judo [81kg] at the same Games. Her younger brother Stephen participated in swimming at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (SportsDeskOnline, 17 Sep 2016; dailymail.co.uk, 20 Aug 2016; elizabethclegg.co.uk, 06 Jun 2013)
Ambitions
To win a gold medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (bbc.co.uk, 10 Nov 2019)
Impairment
At age nine she was diagnosed with Stargardt macular dystrophy. The condition means she has only slight peripheral vision in her left eye. (elizabethclegg.co.uk, 06 Jun 2013; bbc.com, 22 Aug 2012)
Other information
NEW FOCUS
She became a mother for the first time in April 2019 after giving birth to her son Edward. She had returned to training by June of that year, finding new motivation and focus even though she noticed a number of changes to her body. "My body isn't my own any more, it feels completely different and really alien. It has gradually got better as the weeks have gone on. I'm improving, but your priorities change. I was desperate to get back on the track about two weeks after I had had him. He is my world, that totally changes your priorities in that sense. I want to put everything into my training. Every moment I'm away from him, I want to make sure it is worthwhile." (bbc.co.uk, 10 Nov 2019, 25 Jun 2019)

DANCING ON ICE
In 2020 she took part in the British reality television show 'Dancing on Ice'. "It's been a learning process. On the track I run with a guide runner and we're attached all the time. It's like learning a different vocabulary to communicate. Myself and my [ice skating] partner Mark Hanretty use touch and verbal communication. I'm not as bad as I thought I was going to be, but it's not as easy as it looks. It's very technical. Paula [Dunn, British Para athletics head coach] expressed it's really not the best year to do it and I completely agree with her, but these opportunities don't come around very often. I felt like if I didn't take it I'd regret not doing it. I weighed up the options and it gives me an opportunity to get myself in front of a different audience and open other doors for me. I've got a son now so I need to think about financially making the most of situations." (express.co.uk, 26 Jan 2020; telegraph.co.uk, 06 Nov 2019)

FUNDING LOSS
She lost her funding from British Athletics following the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, but she believes the decision ultimately benefited her. "I learned a lot about myself and to be honest I think it was a kick up the bum that I needed. I had complete control over my own programme and the people that I chose to work with. It was definitely the best thing that happened to me. I surrounded myself with people that wanted the same thing that I did." (paralympic.org, 24 May 2017)

POST RIO BLUES
She struggled to return to training after the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she had won two gold medals. "After Rio and reaching the pinnacle of my career and being incredibly successful and fulfilling my ultimate dream, it sadly didn't feel that great when I got home. About a month after Rio, I had really bad mental health issues and I kind of just felt really numb and that I didn't really have a purpose in life any more. Four years on to Tokyo seemed like a long way off." (bbc.co.uk, 25 Jun 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m T12 Heat 5 1
Women's 100 m T12 Heat 2 1
Women's 100 m T12 Final A 2
Women's 200 m T12 Heat 2 2
Women's 200 m T12 Heat 2 4
2011 IPC Athletics World Championships (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T12 Heat 1 2011-01-22 1
Women's 200 m T12 Final 2011-01-23 3
Women's 100 m T12 Heat 1 2011-01-25 1
Women's 100 m T12 Final 2011-01-25 1
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m T12 Heat 3 2012-09-01 1
Women's 100 m T12 Heat 3 2012-09-01 1
Women's 100 m T12 Final Round 2012-09-02 2
Women's 200 m T12 Heat 3 2012-09-06 2
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T12 Semifinal 3 2013-07-20 2
Women's 200 m T12 Final 1 2013-07-21 2
Women's 100 m T12 Heat 3 2013-07-23 1
Women's 100 m T12 Semifinal 2 2013-07-24 3
Women's 100 m T12 Final 1 2013-07-24 2
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T12 Heat 3 2015-10-24 8
Women's 200 m T12 Semifinal 1 2015-10-25 9999
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m T11 Heat 2 2016-09-08 1
Women's 100 m T11 Final Round 2016-09-09 1
Women's 100 m T11 Heat 2 2016-09-09 1
Women's 200 m T11 Heat 4 2016-09-12 1
Women's 200 m T11 Heat 2 2016-09-12 1
Women's 200 m T11 Final Round 2016-09-13 1