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Tokyo Paralympics 2020: Team GB's Laura Sugar wins gold in another Games record in women's KL3 para canoe sprint

Berden's Laura Sugar won a gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics by storming to victory and another Games record in the women's KL3 para-canoe sprint today (Saturday).

The 30-year-old, whose parents Steve and Trish live in St Nicholas Field in the village, triumphed in the final at the Sea Forest Waterway in 49.582 seconds – lowering the mark of 50.347sec she had set in her semi-final victory on Thursday.

She was almost two seconds ahead of France's Nelia Barbosa, who took silver.

Laura Sugar, from Berden, is a Paralympic champion (50889038)
Laura Sugar, from Berden, is a Paralympic champion (50889038)

For the former Newport Free Grammar School – now Joyce Frankland Academy – student, who was born with talipes, or club foot, her victory completes a remarkable transformation as four years ago she had no clue that she would be competing in para-canoe.

She has been competing in the sport only since 2018 having switched from para-athletics. She took part in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio on the track, coming fifth in both the T44 100m and 200m finals.

Sugar also played hockey for Wales before getting involved in Paralympic sport.

The Cambridge-born athlete has no movement in her left foot or ankle, which she says contributed to a lack of major medals on the running track.

She would be overtaken in the latter stages of major track sprint races. "In athletics, the second half of my race was kind of the weaker so I had people coming past me because my foot kind of played its part more," said Sugar. But she has a "good strong second half" in canoe sprints.

After Rio 2016, she began the process of switching to canoeing and has proved a natural. She won World Championship silver and European bronze in her debut season in 2019 and took gold at the European Paralympic qualifier in May.

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