Louise Sugden, 33, a para power lifter from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire was awarded £1,000 from SportsAid’s Bucks Sporting Lunch Club on Friday 4 May 2018. Mark Foster, Britain’s most decorated male swimmer, presented the award.
Created in 2011, the club is a way for local individuals, businesses and trusts – who want to support young, talented athletes in Buckinghamshire – to raise money to help with training, travel or equipment costs.
Louise, who has just returned from the Commonwealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast, with a silver medal in para-powerlifting, explains what this means to her:
“I’m not sure whether it has all really sunk in yet – first a silver at the Commonwealth Games and now this award. It’s been a great few weeks.”
Louise’s dedication to her sport, her commitment to training and drive to do well impressed the judges. She trains three times a week at her local gyms in Beaconsfield, Chalfont St Giles and High Wycombe and at the world class facilities at Powerbase at Loughborough University where the Great British Weightlifting Olympics’ and Paralympics’ teams train. The £1000 award will help with her travel and accommodation costs.
Louise first played wheelchair basketball, but once coaches noticed her natural strength, they believed she would be perfect fit for powerlifting. Louise adds:
“I love the sport because you can see you’re making improvements so clearly – one week you can lift one weight and the next a little bit more.”
Louise cites Anne Wild, five-time Paralympian basketball player and former team mate as her biggest influence. She explains:
“Anne is always the first person that springs to mind as she inspired me from the beginning to work hard to achieve whatever I dreamed.”
One of her biggest inspirations is her Dad, who sadly passed away before ever seeing her compete for her country. Louise says:
“He was always very encouraging and its always in the back of my mind that I want to do him proud.”
Louise is now looking to the future and aims to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics but there are a number of milestones to reach before then. She explains:
“When I was new to the sport one of my greatest achievements was lifting 100kgs having started at 70kgs. Now I’ve competed in two major competitions including the World Championships. Looking ahead, I’d like to take part in more European and World competitions with the ultimate aim of reaching Tokyo in two years’ time. If I remain focused on my training, I’m confident that I can lift 120kgs plus to compete at a Paralympic level.”
Steve Perry, B P Collins and trustee of Bucks SportsAid said:
“Louise is such a deserving recipient. Not only has she successfully transitioned to another sport, but she is competing and winning medals on the world stage. I’m delighted that her award money will help her access the world class facilities at Loughborough to give her the best possible chance of being part of Tokyo 2020. She is definitely one to watch.”
Headline speaker at the lunch club was Mark Foster, the former competitive swimmer who represented Great Britain in the Olympics and world championships and swam for England in the Commonwealth Games.
“Competing on the world stage is about never giving up, having a positive attitude and truly believing that you can become a world champion one day. Louise has these qualities in abundance and with the help of the Sportsaid grant to help with her training, she has a real chance of making it to Tokyo 2020.”