Saffron Walden's Laura Sugar excited for Tokyo even with the lack of overseas support
- Credit: JACOB KING/PA
Laura Sugar insists a behind-closed-doors Paralympic Games can generate the same spirit and excitement tasted at London 2012.
The Saffron Walden ace went to Rio five years ago as a sprinter but after switching sports in 2018, she will head to Tokyo as part of the eight-strong paracanoeing team.
This summer’s Games will be held with no overseas supporters but Sugar, who scooped KL3 silver at the 2019 World Championships, believes the sight of Brits winning medals on TV can capture the hearts of the nation.
The 30-year-old, a former pupil at Newport Free Grammar, said: “Yes, there can’t be international travellers, spectators or people out there but from home, the amount of people who watch the Games can still get inspired.
“From young to old, it’s such a special thing to be part of with that buzz and enjoyment. We’re going to be out there trying to do our job.
“It’s really important to embrace it and enjoy it. The Olympic or Paralympics can inspire that next generation – even with COVID-19 restrictions. Back home, it will be on the TV and on the news every day, and it’s just about that buzz."
Sugar’s Paralympic career has been helped by UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme that allows her to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
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She started paddling in 2018 and enjoyed a breakthrough season on the water with a KL3 European Championship bronze and that world silver in Hungary.
A dominant KL3 200m display in Nottingham in April’s selection event all-but cemented her place on the plane.
She said: "Paracanoeing has a much smaller team but it’s really similar [to the athletics squad] with that team spirit still there.
“It feels great to be finally officially going and be not just part of the British Canoeing team, but part of the whole wider ParalympicsGB team.
"We know we’ve got a really strong squad and it’s a fabulous thing to be a part of.”
No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes.
Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo