Paralympian Libby Clegg sets world record in new class

By mark woods

At the end of a year that saw the Scot slide down the sprint rankings – and then lose her Lottery funding – amid a swarm of injuries, it was just one further blow to absorb.Out of the darkness has come some light. With her Para classification adjusted to T11, Clegg underlined her readiness for Rio with a world record at the IPC Grand Prix Final yesterday, winning the 200 metres in a lifetime best of 24.44 seconds.

For the first time in the heat of competition, she was obliged to wear a blindfold with her guide runner Chris Clarke serving as her compass.

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“It’s terrifying,” she declared. “I had no idea where I am. I was shocked that it was a world record. We didn’t expect that. I’ve been injured all winter. I lost my funding. I got a new guide runner back in February, but it’s been a positive change. I’m happy with all the decisions I’ve made but it’s good that it’s finally paid off.”

The UK’s Paralympic athletics squad will be chosen tomorrow and unveiled on Wednesday. Like her fellow Scots Sammi Kinghorn and Stef Reid, she will expect inclusion in the second and final wave.

World champion Jo Butterfield threw 22.02 metres to win the F51 club throw ahead of her three likeliest challengers at the Paralympics. “It’s nice to lay down a bit of a marker,” the Scot said.

Elsewhere, Richard Whitehead set a world record of 23.03 seconds in the T42 200m, while Jonnie Peacock was knocked into second in the T43 100m by Jarryd Wallace (US).