Thu, 09 May 2019
LOUISE Sugden has moved up to fifth in the Para Powerlifting world rankings, increasing her chances of reaching the Tokyo Paralympic Games next year.
The 34-year-old has to finish in the top eight of the qualification rankings to make it to Japan.
But although she remains in a strong position, there is still time for that to change with a number of competitions coming up.
Sugden said: “To qualify for the Paralympics in Tokyo next year I need to be in the top eight for my weight class.
“Being in fifth is great, but there is still a year left of the qualification period so I need to keep getting stronger to secure my qualification.”
Sugden, from Newbury, took part in the Para Powerlifting World Cup in Eger, Hungary last month and she was delighted with her performance.
“It was a successful competition for me,” she said. “I improved my competition PB by 3kg and moved up the Tokyo rankings, which was the goal of the competition.”
The Commonwealth silver medalist has had a quiet start to the year, but is still working on her preparation for a potential Paralympics.
“Now I’ve been powerlifting for almost two years, my progress has begun to slow down, but preparations are still on track,” she said.
“I’m getting stronger and working on my technical abilities so that I can secure my place at the Paralympics.
“The end of last year was much quieter than the beginning.
“After my Commonwealth (silver), European (gold) and British (gold) successes, I had just one competition in the second half of the year which gave me an opportunity to concentrate on training without having to worry about competition.”
Sugden also achieved a bronze medal at the Fazza World Cup competition, in Dubai, earlier this year.
The World Championships, to be held in Kazakhstan in July, is the next challenge for Sugden and the former wheelchair basketball international is aware of the test ahead.
She said: “It will be my toughest test and a mandatory step if I’m to qualify for Tokyo.
“It is arguably more difficult than the Paralympics because you can have multiple athletes from the same nation in a weight class, whereas at the Paralympics that’s not possible.
“I have a number in mind for what I’d like to be pressing by that time, which will give a good indicator as to whether I’m still on track.”
She said: “I want to finish on the podium in Tokyo, but there are a lot of things that need to go right for that to happen.
And in terms of the long-term future, Sugden has challenged herself to win another medal at the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.