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Louise Sudgen proud to be involved with Paralympics GB after securing bronze medal in Tokyo

Para-powerlifting bronze medallist Louise Sugden has spoken out about her ‘pride’ after coming back from Tokyo with a Paralympic medal.

The 37-year-old, competing in the -86kg category, successfully lifted 131kg in the last round, to finish behind Nigeria’s Folashade Oluwafemiayo, who broke her own world record to claim gold with 152kg, and Zheng Feifei of China.

The former Kennet School pupil was one of three para-athletes to return with a medal in the powerlifting team as it ended up being their best result since the 2000 games in Sydney.

Louise Sugden after winning bronze Pic: ParalympicsGB
Louise Sugden after winning bronze Pic: ParalympicsGB

“Being part of the Paralympics GB team is always a great honour, but to see the team perform so well with such difficult preparations leading into the games gives me so much pride.

“For the Powerlifting team to come back with three medals was above any expectations we had going into the games and the best result for a GB Powerlifting team since Sydney 2000.

“It is a very surreal feeling,” she added. “I'm proud of myself and my ability to stay focused and give a medal winning performance in a difficult competition.”

Things, however, didn’t exactly go to plan for the Newbury para-powerlifter.

Sugden successfully completed a lift of 127kg in the opening round, but failed to lift 131kg in round two.

A ‘no lift’ followed in round three, but after a successful appeal she was confirmed as a bronze medallist.

“Overall I'm happy with my performance,” she admitted. “However, I'm disappointed with my second lift as I failed to lift a weight I knew I was capable of.

“To come out and press a weight I'd failed on the previous lift took a huge amount of mental strength which is what I'm most proud of from my competition.”

It was a nervous period when Sugden appealed after her third round, especially how she had to watch other competitors continue while she waited.

“It was definitely very emotional especially after I'd been given my lift and was waiting for two more lifters to go to find out if I would win the bronze medal.

It was an intense competition for Louise Pic: ParalympicsGB
It was an intense competition for Louise Pic: ParalympicsGB

“The appeal on my last lift came through quite quickly, I remember being really disappointed, but also pleased because I pressed the weight.”

It was a unique games for all the athletes and para-athletes taking part in Tokyo, because of the coronavirus restrictions still in place.

Although Sugden was disappointed that friends and family couldn’t be in attendance, she was grateful that few supporters were able to watch.

“I was very sad that my friends and family couldn't be there to share such a special moment with me.

“What made it even more devastating for me was that they couldn't even watch my competition because there was no broadcast.

“I am, however, grateful for the few spectators we did have for my competition and the energy they brought.”

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