We talked to Libby Clegg – Double Paralympic 100m Silver Medallist to ask her what it was like for her when he started out in sport…
Did you choose your sport or did your parents choose it for you?
It was my decision. I chose to do Ballet and dance when I was younger and turned to Athletics aged 9.
Were they actively supportive of you doing the sport?
Yes my mum used to take me to the track and was my personal taxi and PA. My parents also helped me out financially.
When did you start training regularly?
When I was 12 years old I would train on a regular basis then at 14 I started training more intensely and by age 16 I was training every day.
Did your parents ever think being a professional sportsperson would be a good career for you?
My parents didn’t really discourage me and were very supportive. However, neither they nor I really thought seriously about becoming professional until later on.
Were you aware of the sacrifices your parents made for you?
Definitely, my mum gave up a lot of free time to taxi me around to training and different competitions. My parents also took me to many different training squads and supported me financially, my dad worked longer shifts to pay for things.
How difficult is it/was it to balance sport and school?
Very difficult, my school grades were not as good as I wanted, as it was hard to fit work in around training and get homework done. But I really wanted to do well in Athletics.
Did your training ever affect your school work, is this something that your parents were worried about?
My parents were a little worried training was affecting school work, but not really worried as they supported what I did. I had tutoring after school to help me to get my work done. I also went back to college to improve my grades. I now have more of an idea what I want to do after sport whereas when I left school I didn’t really have that much of an idea.
What did Sport give you as a child?
I grew up more confident and was more comfortable and independent. I also learnt responsibility and commitment. It was similar as I got older, and I made lots of goods friends and have a great coach. I carried on the things I learnt when I was younger into sport later on.
Would you encourage you children to take part in sport professionally?
I definitely would, as it brings out a lot of skills such as teamwork, confidence and responsibility.
Do you think it’s a good idea for a child to focus on one main sport straight away?
No I don’t think so, kid should try lots of different sports as it’s healthy, and they should also try team sports and individual ones so they get a mix. Don’t pick one sport in particular and do the things you enjoy, it’s just for fun when you’re a kid.