3rd September 2021
CLEGG SAYS FAREWELL TO THE TRACK WITH SILVER AS PART OF THE UNIVERSAL RELAY TEAM
Libby Clegg rounded off her Paralympic career with a silver medal as part of the 4x100m universal relay in the event’s debut at the Games.
Clegg (coach: Joe McDonnell, club: Charnwood) is a double Paralympic champion from Rio and joined forces with Jonnie Peacock (Michael Khmel/Dan Pfaff, Charnwood AC), Ali Smith (Chris Zah, Guildford & Godalming) and Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins, Kirkby AC) to finish third in the inaugural event before she calls time on her career.
However, following a review, second placed China were disqualified for an infringement during one of their changeovers, bumping Britain’s bronze up to a silver.
The 4x100m universal relay team followed Richard Whitehead and Hollie Arnold onto the podium following impressive performances in their respective finals.
The silver means Clegg, alongside her guide Chris Clarke, can ride off into the sunset with another medal for her collection, having won silver at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and the two golds at Rio 2016.
“I’m so privileged and proud to be a part of this team and share this moment with these guys,” she said.
“I won two Paralympic golds in Rio and it didn’t make me happy, right now this is my proudest moment – being part of this team.
“I’m going to take some time out but this is my last running competition, unless I dabble in a sports day when my son is at primary school. To end my athletics career with this medal is a dream come true.”
Double Paralympic champion Whitehead (Keith Antoine, Southwell) was one of the favourites ahead of the T61 200m final and heading into the home straight, he was neck and neck with South Africa’s Ntando Mahlangu, the world record holder.
The teenager finished fastest to snatch gold away from Whitehead, handing him a silver.
And while it wasn’t the medal he wanted to add to his assortment of Paralympic honours, the sprinter was in a reflective mood in the aftermath.
Whitehead said: “I was a lot closer than I thought I would be. I came off the bend I was in the good position. But he (Mahlangu) did to me what I did to the guys in 2012.
“I’m disappointed because it was so close, and I think I could have run a bit quicker. The gold medallist in me is really disappointed but I will reflect on this as a positive season I think.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about the bigger picture. If I can have a legacy in the event and help these guys, then that’s what I would want to do. It’s not all about self-gratification, it’s about the legacy you leave on the track.”
Arnold (David Turner, Blackheath & Bromley) who was seeking to defend her Rio F46 javelin crown, finished third in the final to take bronze.
Through four rounds, she led the field, with her best throw reaching 39.73m.
But with both their final throws, the Netherlands’ Noelle Roorda and New Zealand’s Holly Robinson pulled off throws of 40.06m and 40.99m respectively, moving Arnold into the bronze medal spot.
Arnold said: “They were really tough conditions out there today.
“Even though I’m on the podium, it’s not where I want to be, I wanted the gold. But I have made the podium and I have to be proud of that. It’s been a long five years since Rio, but there is so much more to come which is the exciting thing.
“I’ll come away from this and go through the thought process and come back stronger, I’ll be ready to fight next year. We have a World Championships next year back in Japan so I’ll be ready to fight for that title and set myself up for the next three years.”
Elsewhere, Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk, Bristol & West) finished eighth in the women’s T64 100m final, while Jo Butterfield (Philip Peat/Shona Malcolm, Forth Valley Flyer) fell just short of a podium place in the women’s F51 club throw, finishing fourth.
Butterfield threw a season’s best throw of 21.77m in the final, which was won by Ukrainian world record holder Zoia Ovsii with a best throw 25.12m.
Kamlish clocked a time of 13.49 (0.1) for eighth in her final.
And away from the finals action, both Kadeena Cox (Joe McDonnell, Sale Harriers Manchester) and Smith, competing straight after her relay heroics, made it through the T38 400m heats to reach the final.
The British medallists (21):
Jonathan Broom-Edwards – Men’s T64 High Jump
Hannah Cockroft – Women’s T34 100m
Sophie Hahn – Women’s T38 100m
Owen Miller- Men’s T20 1500m
Dan Pembroke – Men’s F13 Javelin
Andrew Small – Men’s T33 100m
Thomas Young – Men’s T38 100m
Kare Adenegan – Women’s T34 100m
Sammi Kinghorn – Women’s T53 400m
Richard Whitehead – Men’s T61 200m
Libby Clegg, Jonnie Peacock, Ali Smith, Nathan Maguire – 4x100m Universal Relay
Hollie Arnold – Women’s F46 Javelin
Columba Blango – Men’s T20 400m
Olivia Breen – Women’s T38 Long Jump
Dan Greaves – Men’s F64 Discus
Harri Jenkins – Men’s T33 100m
Sammi Kinghorn – Women’s T53 100m
Maria Lyle – Women’s T35 100m and 200m
Jonnie Peacock – Men’s T64 100m
Hannah Taunton – Women’s T20 1500m