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UK Athletics

sugar sweeter after bronze 

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Laura Sugar
17 October 2014 

It’s been a whirlwind of a journey for sprinter Laura Sugar (coach: Femi Akinsanya). In two years, the 23 year old has gone from a Welsh hockey international to a double European sprint bronze medallist.

Despite the success at the IPC European Championships, the transition from the pitch to the blocks hasn’t been as easy as it looks. Juggling a teaching career with exams and a demanding training schedule, Sugar admits that she has to keep her diary organised to avoid falling down in any areas.

The Leicestershire school teacher said: “I would say 2014 was more than I expected. I was hoping for one medal, and thought the 200m was my best chance. With the year I had with studying, I thought my times would be down so to get two medals was a big shock. 

“You don't want to think about winning a medal beforehand, you just want to run as fast as you can. However you can't help but dream, and to get a medal and be on the podium is all I ever wanted. I knew there were four of us within a good shot to get a bronze medal so to get it I was very chuffed. Everything I hoped I could have done, I actually did. With the 100m, I was the first Welsh medallist in Wales, so that was really nice & added that little bit extra too.” 

Sugar’s meteoric rise has seen her storm to fourth in the T43/44 world rankings for the 100m and 200m in 2014, but knows that she will have to continue her rapid progression if she is to close the gap on the likes of Holland’s ‘Blade Babe’ Marlou Van Rhijn.  

“I've got to get another winter in to get stronger because I've only had one. I think my body is beginning to be more suited to sprinting rather than hockey, which will help. You never know what other athletes are going to do, but I know I'm nowhere near my best, so I can keep taking chunks off my time. Some are taking hundredths off whereas I think I can take tenths off. I've worked loads on my start this year, and that's really paid off because most of the time I was ahead after 60m, so I now need to work on that second half because that's when the blade runners come into their own. Hopefully quicker times will come and I'll close that gap,” Sugar added. 

Another intriguing head-to-head that has been developing is between Sugar and her GB & NI teammate Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk), who won bronze over 200m at last year’s IPC World Championships. While Sugar has stormed to a British record over 100m and won two medals in Swansea, A-Levels have taken priority for Bath-based Kamlish, who finished fifth and sixth place finish over 200m and 100m respectively in Swansea. However, Sugar believes that her rival will be back to firing from all cylinders next year ready for the IPC World Championships in Doha next October.

“Sophie (Kamlish) was ahead of me in the 100m and I was in front in the 200m last year, but on results in the worlds she beat me in both. This year the tables turned with her A-Level studies, but I'm sure she's going to come back fighting. The British record went and she's going to want that, so she'll be ready next year come Doha.”

While gold is definitely in her sights for Rio, Sugar is aiming for another podium finish in Doha, admitting that the IPC World Championships might be a little too soon to be challenging Van Rhijn and Germany’s Imgard Bensusan. 

"The perfect next two years would be to get gold at the next two major championships. Doha is only one year away, so maybe closing that gap might not be straight away, but definitely want to be among the medals. Hopefully, by Rio I'll take a few more chunks off my time and get right amongst the medals. There'll be six of us targeting those medals, so it will be really challenging being within a few hundredths of a second off each other.”