Clegg thanks SSE after rollercoaster year ends with double Paralympic glory

Double Paralympic champion Libby Clegg has paid tribute to the invaluable support she received from SSE which helped her on the way to achieving her dreams in Rio.

Visually impaired sprinter Clegg was one of the stars of the 2016 Paralympic Games as she and guide Chris Clarke stormed to double gold in the 100m and 200m events in Brazil.

Those medals were particularly sweet for Clegg who had been forced to contend with all manner of setbacks over the last few years, ranging from injuries and illness to a change of classification and guide as well as the loss of funding after being dropped from the 2015-2016 world class performance programme.

Fortunately for Clegg, she was able to rely on the support and financial backing of SSE, who not only backed the sprinter in the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games where she won 100m gold but also continued to remain a firm supporter when the 26-year-old lost her funding late last year.

Further difficulties followed in 2016 as Clegg, who has a deteriorating eye condition, switched to a new guide in Clarke, while in July – just two months before the Paralympics – she was reclassified from T12 to T11 meaning she had to wear a blindfold while competing.

But not one to give in, Clegg kept her cool and was duly rewarded with a golden double in Rio.

“I’ve massively surprised myself. I’ve had a really tough year and if you’d asked me ten months ago, I’d have said all this wasn’t possible,” said Clegg, who has now completed the full set of major international titles at Paralympic, World, European and Commonwealth level.

“In December last year I lost my world-class performance funding from UK Sport. Although quite liberating at the same time, it also meant that it was quite difficult to me.

“Fortunately SSE has been such a huge support to me and helped me to continue to pay for my medical support - things like my massages, physio and doctor appointments.

“SSE also enabled me to go to warm weather training where I was able to get some really good sessions in with my training group which all helped me to get into as best shape as possible for running my best in Rio and achieving my dreams.”

As well as receiving financial support, Clegg was made an ambassador for the SSE Next Generation Programme, meaning she is able pass on her own knowledge to the stars of the future.

She added: “I’ve really enjoyed meeting the athletes over the years and I want to continue to get involved, inspire kids and pass on any advice I can.

“When I was growing up I never had any mentoring, any schemes or workshops that I could attend, so this is absolutely amazing.

“I wish I would’ve had something like this when I was younger, it would’ve made a world of difference.

“When you’re younger you sometimes think things are a lot bigger deal than they actually are, so it’s quite nice to talk to somebody that has already experienced those things, to pass on that knowledge and tell you the mistakes they made in the past.”