Sweet success in Tokyo for Laura Sugar
- Credit: PA
Saffron Walden's Laura Sugar has said she is "immensely proud" of her paracanoe performance in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Sugar, 30, won gold in the women's KL3 paracanoe final on Saturday (September 4), setting a new Paralympic best time.
The former Newport Free Grammar School pupil competed on the running track at Rio 2016 before making the switch to paracanoe in 2019.
Sugar said Tokyo 2020 had been a "blur" after just two years on the world stage.
She said: "It is amazing to do that race out there.
"I knew I had to nail my start, and then the race in me comes out halfway through the race.
"I am just glad it has all gone to plan.”
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Sugar, who was born with talipes, or club foot, first received a taste of victory in the canoe sprint heats on Thursday, September 2 when she set a Paralympic best time of 50.347 seconds.
She took gold in the final two days later with a new record of 49.582 seconds, nearly two seconds ahead of French silver medallist Nélia Barbosa.
She said: "I always enjoyed recreational kayaking and when British Canoeing approached me, I liked the idea of racing and going as hard as you can.
"I didn’t expect to pick it up so quickly but I just love it!
"I'm still quite new to the sport so have spent the extra year honing my technique."
In the past, Sugar has represented Saffron Walden in Hockey before joining the Welsh team in 2009.
She placed fifth in the 100m and 200m sprint events in Rio five years ago before taking part in the 2019 paracanoe season for the first time, taking European bronze and World silver that year.
Sugar works part time as a sports coach at Uppingham School in Rutland.
The British Canoeing squad secured three golds, a silver and three bronze medals in the Paralympics this year.
At the end of the games, Paralympics GB placed second in the medal table with 124 medals in total, behind China.