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Silver lining for Oldbury school governor
12:19pm Wednesday 12th September 2012 in News
A GOVERNOR at an Oldbury special school scooped a silver medal at the Paralympic Games - running in the 100m as guide to blind athlete Libby Clegg.
It was the first time that the dedicated work of the guides was recognised in the Games and Mikail Huggins said it was great to be appreciated.
“It was an amazing achievement,” said the self-employed sports coach, who is a governor at The Meadows Sports College.
School principal Gordon Phillips said the students were looking forward to a visit from Mikail to show off his hard-earned silver medal.
“We are so delighted by their success - it’s fantastic and we are very proud of him,” he added.
Mikail took over guiding the Scottish runner, who only has a small amount of peripheral vision in her left eye, from his step-father Lincoln Asquith, who guided her to silver in Beijing four years ago.
The 28-year-old has trained with Libby, aged 22, at Loughborough since 2010, and last year guided her to gold in the World Championships in New Zealand.
They are attached by a rubber loop which they hold and Mikail has to make certain he follows her every step in time so that she does not lose her balance or veer out of her lane.
He talks to her throughout the sprint and has the difficult task off backing off at the finishing line to ensure she passes it first.
“It’s a natural instinct to try to win a race so I have to make sure I have my guider’s head on and not my racer’s head. I try to take it in my stride - literally,” he said.
Libby set a new world record of 12.17 seconds running in her heat with Mikail, which was broken later in the competition, and ran a lifetime best of 12.13 seconds in the final.
The pair are now planning to challenge for gold in Rio de Janeiro in four years time, but to do that, Mikail will have to take time out of his paid coaching work, so is looking for sponsorship.
He also coaches Sandwell runner Rio hopeful Shannon Wallace, aged 17, who has cerebral palsy, and has reached world junior level.
Anyone who can offer sponsorship can email Mikail at email@example.com