AFTER taking a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Louise Sugden is hoping home advantage will prove fruitful in the upcoming Para Powerlifting World Cup in Manchester on the road to the Paralympics later this year.

“This is the first time we’ve ever hosted a World Cup in Great Britain,” Sugden said.

“It basically just gives us the best qualifying opportunity going into Tokyo. Competing without the travel and jet lag, just gives us a chance to go out there and perform to our absolute best.”

“It’s a really good opportunity to go out there without all the other elements you normally have in an international competition and just go out there and perform as well as you possibly can and obviously, we’ll have the home crowd cheering us on.”

The Newbury-born athlete only took up the sport in June 2017, after officially retiring from Wheelchair basketball in 2014, which she competed for Team GB at London 2012.

“Every single competition I go to I’m still learning and I’m still willing to learn and I think that’s probably one of the more important things. I’ve had something different go wrong at every competition, and I think I’m just kind of learning how to deal with different things.”

Sugden has to be in the top eight of the World Rankings to qualify for Tokyo, which she currently occupies, but knows she has to be on form in Manchester to maintain that position.

She continued: “It’s just a case of making sure I’m putting as much weight on the bar as I can and I’ve got a couple of people, just behind me, so I need to make sure I’m just staying ahead of them, and putting some pressure on the girls right at the top of the rankings.”

Although aware of the task at hand, Sugden is confident of not only qualifying for Tokyo but using it as a building block to go one better than the silver she won at Gold Coast 2018, which will be a home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in two years time.

Sugden concluded: “It gives a really good platform for disability sports. I just love being around and making some really good friends with the weightlifters who are part of the same governing body as us, but we don’t see that much because obviously we’re at separate competitions all the time, so it’s just a really nice atmosphere and really inclusive.”

To follow the fortunes of Team England athletes in the lead up to Birmingham 2022 head to the Team England website