Great night for Cleggs

Clegg family has night to remember at Paralympics
By Eurosport

02/09/2012 at 22:50Updated 02/09/2012 at 22:53

If medals were awarded to parents, Moira and Peter Clegg should top the podium at the Paralympics.

First they watched son James win a surprise 100m butterfly swimming bronze, then, after an excited and breathless dash across Olympic Park, they just made it in time to see daughter Libby win 100m silver at the Olympic Stadium.

It was a famous double for the British siblings and then the proud parents repeated the feat in a bid to catch both medal ceremonies.

At the end of the night it was difficult to tell who was more exhausted.

Clegg found out her brother had finished third just moments before walking onto the track.

Expectations were high after winning gold at last year’s World Championships but she’d seen the world record rewritten three times in two days with China’s Guohua Zhou the pre-race favourite.

Zhou didn’t improve the 11.91 second mark she set in the heats but still ran the second quickest time of all-time in the T12 classification, while Clegg settled for a new 12.13 sec European record and the scalp of defending Oxana Boturchuk.

“I found out about James in the call-up room. Half of me didn’t want to know before my race but curiosity got the better of me and I asked an official to look it up on the internet,” said Clegg, who also won silver in Beijing four years ago.

“It was a big boost and lift for me because he was only really meant to be here for the experience. I'm so proud of him, he's only a baby.

“I had to get a medal as soon as I heard, I couldn’t have my little brother beating me.”

But Clegg, who will compete again in the 200m later this week and was guided to victory by Mikail Huggins, admitted there was a tinge of disappointment after arriving with hopes of gold.

“I'm slightly disappointed but I couldn't do anymore than I did,” she said.

“It was a really tough race and the standard was really high. We've run three lifetime bests in two days and that shows how tough it’s getting.

“Mikhail kept me calm through the race told me to stay relaxed, keep pushing and then dip.

“Bring on next year now, I can’t wait. The World Championships are in Lyon and hopefully I will have a full winters training.”

Graeme Ballard banished his Paralympic demons to win 100m silver at London 2012 – however he insisted those thoughts only came to mind after the race and not before.

The 33-year-old returned home from the last Paralympics in Beijing four years ago empty-handed, finishing eighth twice and sixth in his three sprint events.

That came four years after he won bronze on debut in the 200m at Athens 2004 – however he was back on the podium in the capital and this time one rung further up.

He executed a near perfect race, dipping at the line to clock 12.24 secs– the only problem was that Russia’s Evgenii Shvetcov winning in a new Paralympic record.

“It was a fantastic race and as far as I can see the best man got the gold on the day. It was so close; I couldn’t have done anything better really,” said Ballard.

“He was stronger and I am very satisfied with a silver medal. The crowd were fantastic all the way from start to finish.

“The lap of honour was unreal, I couldn’t believe it. At one stage it made me feel like I had won that race.”