Mon, 07 Oct 2019
Louise and her teammates | Picture: Tom Whittaker
LOUISE Sugden has boosted her chances of representing Great Britain at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next summer.
The 35-year-old, from Newbury, claimed gold in the women’s under-86kg category at the World Para Powerlifting World Cup, held in Tokyo.
In doing so, Sugden increased her chances of reaching the Paralympics after posting a couple of personal best scores at the event.
She said: “It was fantastic. I really didn’t know if I had a PB performance in me after a difficult training block leading into the competition.
“But I’m so happy I was able to find a couple of extra kilograms since the World Championships.”
Sugden was part of a successful team at the event, which saw teammates Ali Jawad and Micky Yule secure silver medals.
“It’s a great confidence boost for the team,” said Sugden. “We know that we’re working hard in our training, but it’s great to see the hard work pay off.”
The former wheelchair basketball player, who represented Great Britain in the Beijing and London Paralympic Games, switched to powerlifting in 2017.
Since then, she has won a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and believes she can maintain her progress.
This included two personal bests of 121kg and 122kg over the weekend, helping her move closer to a medal in next summer’s Games in Japan.
She said: “The extra 2kg takes me closer to the current world medal zone for my weight class.
“I’m now 9kg away from the athlete currently ranked third in the Tokyo qualification rankings.
“The competition in Japan has proved to me that, despite a less-than-perfect build-up to the competition, I’m still progressing towards my goal of a Paralympic medal.”
Sugden earned valuable ranking points and she was delighted that her performance was able to boost her confidence.
She said: “This competition was all about making my Tokyo qualification ranking position as strong as possible and I feel like we’ve achieved that.
“The competition and the medal have given me a boost in confidence and motivation for training in the coming months.”
Sugden has set her sights on training for the next few months, ahead of another competition early next year.
“The rest of 2019 will be completely focused on training,” she said.
“I’ve got no competitions coming up, so we get to really focus on getting up towards 130kg on the bar ahead of the World Cup event taking place in Manchester in February next year.”