Wed, 08 Apr 2020
Louise and her teammates | Picture: Tom Whittaker
PARA-powerlifter Louise Sugden has admitted that it’s going to be a real challenge to get back into a training routine for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The games, which were due to take place this summer, have been put back a year as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The new dates mean that the event will kick off on August 24, 2021, and end on September 5, 2021, and although it was hard for Sugden to register at first, she believes it’s the right decision.
“It took me a couple of days to get my head around the announcement,” she said, “but I absolutely agree that it is the right decision.
“I was devastated when it was announced.
“I’ve been working for the last couple of years towards a goal and just as it was within touching distance, the goal has been changed.
“I’m trying to focus on the positives of the situation and use the opportunity to be even stronger than I would have been by August.”
Sugden, from Newbury, recently won gold at the Para Powerlifting World Cup and was in good form ahead of the games.
However, as the dates have been altered, she knows that training regimes will have to be adapted for next summer.
She said: “At the moment my training is focused on trying to maintain my strength, but now we’ve got a new date for the Paralympics it will be a case of planning the next 17 months.
“The biggest challenge at the moment is that we don’t know how long the lockdown will last and therefore we don’t know when we can get back to normal training, so all plans will have to be flexible until normal life resumes.”
The 35-year-old spends her time training at Loughborough University, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic her preparations have been affected.
Sugden was due to compete in the final qualifying event for the games in Dubai later this month, but this has also been postponed.
She said: “I’ve definitely found it harder to motivate myself to train with everything being up in the air at the moment and not having a set goal.
“But I have to remind myself that I’ve worked so hard to get to this point and I don’t want to ruin that hard work by not training and losing loads of strength.”
Despite the setback in her plans, Sugden still remains determined to head to Tokyo and bring home a medal.
She said: “I’m definitely still determined to go to the games and my aim is still to get a medal, the only thing that’s changed is the timeline.
“I’m just focusing on what I can control, which is training, keeping my body happy and doing all I can to help get the situation under control.
“It doesn’t sound like much, but I’m doing my bit by staying at home,” she said. “The more people do that and stick to the guidelines, the quicker we can get back to normal.”
As Sugden is following the Government guidelines by staying inside, she has set up a gym in her garage so training can still be completed.
She said: “I’m having to adjust my training as I’m not able to access physios.
“Things are lighter than they would have been so that I’m not risking any kind of injury.
“I’m just very grateful that I have the space to enable me to have a gym at home, even if it’s just temporarily.”