Laura Sugar was watching the men’s discus at the London 2012 Paralympics when the camera showed a close-up of the feet of British competitor Dan Greaves.

It was a split-second moment that changed Sugar’s life. Greaves had a club foot, the same as Sugar.

“It was London 2012 that made me realise that I was eligible to compete in the Paralympic Games,” Sugar recalls.

“In the discus, Dan Greaves, he won a bronze a couple of days ago. In the discus they zoom in on your feet, and that’s where I literally saw – ‘I’ve got that foot’, that was literally the moment where I thought ‘oh, that means I could do that’.

“With my disability of a fused ankle, you kind of see in the Paralympics, you see amputees, you see vision impaired, you see people in wheelchairs. I never knew, obviously I had a disability, but I had worked around it in hockey because you can get away with a bit of skill if you are lacking in pace.”

It was a lightbulb moment that led to Laura Sugar competing in track and field in Rio in 2016, and then switching to paracanoe in 2018. Incredibly on Saturday, three years later, she was standing on the top of the podium as the women’s KL3 gold medalist.

“It’s all a bit of a blur really,” Sugar said.

“I’d always just done kayaking recreationally, and always enjoyed it, but I always thought it was just for wheelchair athletes because that was all that I had seen. The minute I got in the boat I loved it.

“Obviously I was devastated when the Paralympics got delayed, but it gave me a chance to really home in on that technique and to catch up. It put me in great stead to be faster here than I would have been last year.”

Sugar is expecting paracanoe to continue to grow, especially in Great Britain after the country once again headed the medal leaderboard in Tokyo. And if she has played a role in helping others to realise their possibilities than she will be happy.

“I know from me competing in Rio there’s a couple of girls competing in Britain that are now running after that,” she said.

“The more it’s seen, the more people can get inspired and get involved in it, and I’m a direct result of that from watching London.

“I always remind Dan I’ve got him to thank for where I am now.”

Great Britain Laura Sugar Tokyo Paralympics

#ICFparacanoe #paracanoe