Louise Sugden won a brilliant powerlifting bronze in the women’s -86kg category, securing the medal with her final lift.
The Newbury lifter successfully made 131kg in the last round, a lift that previously would have broken the Paralympic record, to reach the podium.
It was a tense final round as Sugden’s attempt was initially recorded a no lift for her press sequence but was successfully appealed to see her claim her first Paralympic medal.
The former wheelchair basketball player finished behind Nigeria’s Folashade Oluwafemiayo, who broke her own world record to claim gold with 152kg, and Zheng Feifei of China.
Sugden completed a lift of 127kg in the first round, before the Paralympic record was then broken by three separate competitors with Amany Ali of Egypt lifting 131kg, Zheng making 135kg and Oluwafemiayo hoisting a mammoth 147kg to claim top spot, a position she never relinquished.
Having failed at the weight in round two, Sugden again attempted 131kg for her final lift and despite initially being called as a no lift, an appeal saw her attempt stand to move into bronze medal position.
The Brit then faced a tense wait but Brazil’s Tayana Medeiros failed at 131kg to remain fifth and Ali was unable to complete 133kg handing Sugden bronze due to her weighing less than the Egyptian – the deciding factor when athletes complete the same lift.
Sugden said: “I still think I’m going to wake up at some point! But I think I’ve got a great coaching team. I’ve worked really hard and I’m just proud that it’s paid off.
“After the second lift, I think I was so annoyed with myself for not getting it, that it just gave me that fire that I needed to go out and get the last one.
“We knew that we were pushing people to their limits with that weight, I was there as well. But we knew that technically, I was slightly stronger and I think that just paid off today.”
Appeals are common in powerlifting and Sugden put her trust in her coach as they asked the judges to re-check her decisive third lift.
“I just thought it felt good,” she added. “I didn’t know what it failed on, I think it was press sequence, but I was pretty confident that if Tom [coach] thinks it is a good lift he will appeal, and if he doesn’t think it’s a good lift. He won’t appeal it.
“So to see him run over there, I was like: ‘Okay, we’re on the same page here.’ But to see it overturned was brilliant, absolutely amazing.”
Sugden’s bronze marks three powerlifting medals for ParalympicsGB after bronzes for Mickey Yule and Olivia Broome earlier in the programme.
“It’s not a bad return, is it? I think we knew that there was a possibility of coming back with two,” said Sugden.
“I think three is fantastic and just it shows that all our hard work is paying off.”