Wed, 04 Mar 2020
PARA-powerlifter Louise Sugden has strengthened her grip on a place in the Paralympic Games this summer with a gold medal in the World Cup in Manchester over the weekend.
Sugden, 35, was competing in the Para Powerlifting World Cup with Great Britain and she helped them finish top of the standings.
Great Britain won a total of nine medals – four of them gold – one of which was won by Sugden in the up to 86kg category.
Sugden, from Newbury, said: “I’m always so pleased when I get a medal at competitions, especially gold, but the most important thing for me at this competition was the weight I lifted.
“With just over two months until the end of the Tokyo qualification period, every kilogram matters in defending my top-eight ranking.
“I did, however, enjoy the fact that Great Britain topped the medal table for the competition with my gold medal.”
As a result of picking up gold, Sugden has increased her chances at representing Great Britain in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer.
She said: “There is one further qualification event which the Great Britain team will be attending and I hope to be selected for that, so I have one last opportunity to defend my rankings and secure my place at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
“I’m still fifth in the Tokyo rankings, so I’ve stayed the same, but I’ve increased the gap between myself and sixth place.
“I’m going to be working as hard as possible in the coming months to close the gap between me and the women at the top of my weight class.”
As well as winning gold in her category, Sugden broke the British record by lifting 125kg.
On that achievement, she said: “125kg has been a goal of mine for a long time, so to set that as a new British record was an awesome feeling.
“I hope in the build-up to the Paralympics I’m able to set a couple more British records in the remaining events.”
Sugden, who previously represented Great Britain in wheelchair basketball at the Beijing and London Paralympic Games, was also happy with her team’s effort.
She said: “I was incredibly pleased with my own performance, but the team performance was exceptional.
“We had so many athletes taking part in their first international competition and their performances were absolutely amazing.”
The 35-year-old picked up a silver medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and she expressed her delight at winning gold medal in front of a home crowd.
She said: “The crowd were fantastic and I definitely felt their energy when I was on the platform.
“It was special for me to have friends and family there to support me and I felt I did them proud by winning the gold medal.”