Paralympic Games: Former Royal Blind School pupils embark on Olympic odyssey
STUDENTS and staff at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh will be cheering on three former pupils as they enter the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics tomorrow.
Libby Clegg, James Clegg and Lee Brunton, who all attended the school in Edinburgh, will represent Team GB in athletics, swimming and five-a-side football respectively. The Clegg siblings and Lee Brunton share the daily challenges that accompany having a visual impairment, but more importantly, they have all found ways of coping with and overcoming those challenges through sport.
Libby and James Clegg both live with a deteriorating eye condition called Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy. Libby started running soon after being diagnosed and made her mark on the international sports scene in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, where she took silver in the 100 metre sprint. Currently ranked as the reigning World and European Champion in both the 100 and 200 metre sprints, Libby and her guide runner, Mikhail Higgins, have their sights set on gold in London.
James Clegg and Brunton will be making their Paralympic debuts this year and already show great promise. James recently broke a 12-year-old British record (formerly held by Ian Sharpe) during the Olympic trials and subsequently earned a silver medal in the MC 100m Butterfly at this year’s British Swimming Championships.
Brunton lost his sight completely at 13 years old as a result of an aggressive brain tumour that damaged his optic nerve. He discovered independence and blind football at the Royal Blind School, and was later recruited for the Blind Football Academy, where football training is integrated with academics.
All three Paralympic athletes have described their time at the Royal Blind School as being empowering and providing them with the confidence and self-determination necessary to accomplish their future goals. Libby links her school experience to her success in sport, saying: “For me, attending the school was inspirational and winning medals at the 2008 Paralympics and the 2010 World Championships was awesome.”
Cari Mannion, Depute Head Teacher at the Royal Blind School said: “Libby, James and Lee were all great role models while at school. All three demonstrated what people who are visually impaired CAN do.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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