Glasgow 2014: Scotland's Libby Clegg aiming for sprint treble

By Jane Lewis & Cheri BurnsBBC Scotland
Feature: Libby Clegg
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Dates: 23 July to 3 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Scotland, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, tablets and mobiles

Libby Clegg is determined to come away from her first Commonwealth Games with a gold medal.

One of Team Scotland's strongest hopes in the para-sport programme, the 24-year-old will be in the T12 100m event.

And Clegg, who already has World and European Championships gold, wants more success on the Hampden track.

"It'd be wrong for me to say that I'm not looking for a gold medal, I am. I want to go and record a fantastic performance," she told BBC Scotland.

As the result of the eye disease Stargardt's macular dystrophy, Clegg is registered blind and races with English guide Mikail Huggins, who took over the role from his step-father, Lincoln Asquith.

The two have forged a formidable partnership and it is one that the Edinburgh runner hopes will help her to glory on home soil.

"It's natural for us, it's kind of like finding a partner in life - you either click or you don't," Clegg explains.

"With Mikail it's perfect. I couldn't run in Glasgow if I wasn't able to go with him. It would've meant working with someone else - I'm really picky and I've got high standards.

"Communication is really important, and we can read each other well. If Mikail has annoyed me I don't want to be near him, and vice versa. He knows how to handle me now."

Huggins, too, cannot wait to show what the duo are made of, and is confident of putting in an impressive showing at the Glasgow showpiece.

He explained: "We've been working really hard over the last couple of years, and I think that you learn from each race. It's a different challenge but something that we both know we can achieve.

"Practice doesn't make perfect, it's perfect practice that makes perfect.

"Libby is a fighter. When we're on that line I know for a fact she's going to put down her best performance. That's a boost for me and I'm confident we'll do well.

"It's an honour. The Commonwealth Games is a nice way to unite England and Scotland. For me, having to wear a kilt as well, it's part of the culture and I'm going to embrace it."

Libby Clegg and Mikail Huggins won silver medals at the London Olympics
Clegg and Huggins won silver at the London Olympics

Clegg burst on the scene at the age of 16 and became one of the country's leading track and field stars when she won a silver medal at London 2012.

It was there that para-sport really came to the fore, with the Glasgow Games set to build on that, having the largest ever integrated programme.

There will be 22 medals contested across five sports, and that level of competition is something the runner insists will ignite change for the future.

"Hopefully we'll inspire some people who wouldn't necessarily have watched our events before," she said.

"Over the last few years, they've definitely increased in popularity. We've got our own fan base now who go to our competitions. It's just the same as able-bodied sport.

"I think people are seeing the athletes as elite athletes - that's what we're striving for, and this exposure will really benefit us."

Clegg, who has trained in Loughborough for five years, considered trying out for able-bodied Commonwealth contests, but that was not to be.

And, she could not be more excited to be heading back to her homeland for what promises to be the most memorable stage of an already impressive career.

"It's going to be great for my friends and family to be able to get involved, because sometimes when I compete away it's hard for them to keep tabs on what I'm doing," she added.

"There's definitely a buzz, and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity. I'm so excited."

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