Tokyo Paralympics 2020: Newbury's Louise Sugden 'proud' after securing bronze medal in Tokyo
Newbury para-powerlifter Louise Sugden secured a bronze medal with her final lift in the women’s -86kg category at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The 37-year-old 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.
It was a nervous final round for the former wheelchair basketballer as her final attempt was recorded as a no lift for her press sequence, but it was successfully appealed and she claimed her first Paralympic medal.
Sugden completed a lift of 127kg in the first round, before the Paralympic record was then incredibly broken by three separate competitors.
Amany Ali of Egypt lifted 131kg, Zheng recorded 135kg and Oluwafemiayo came in to lift 147kg to claim top spot, a position she never surrendered.
Sugden then failed to lift 131kg in round two, but was then successful in the final round after her appeal.
The former Kennet School pupil then faced a nervous wait to see if Brazil’s Tanya Medeiros could lift 131kg.
After Medeiros failed to do so, Ali was then unable to complete 133kg and this handed Sugden bronze due to her weighing less than the Egyptian – the deciding factor when athletes complete the same lift.
“I still think I’m going to wake up at some point,” said Sugden after the event, “but I think I’ve got a great coaching team.
“I’ve worked really hard and I’m just proud that it’s paid off.
“After the second lift, I think I was so annoyed with myself for not getting it, that it just gave me that fire I needed to go out and get the last one.”