Kettering village school pupils go for gold with Para champ Laura

Laura Sugar visited Cranford Primary School to inspire pupils

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 10:26 am
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 10:28 am

Pupils at a Kettering village school have been put through their paces by a world and Paralympic champion canoeist who joined them for lessons..

Laura Sugar, who took gold in the women's kayak single 200m (KL3) at the Tokyo games, brought her paddle and medal as well as her can-do attitude to inspire the pupils of Cranford Primary School.

Working with children from Reception through to Year 6 students, Laura was grilled on her sporting success and how she was inspired to take part.

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Gold medal-winning performance - Laura Sugar with pupils at Cranford Primary School

The visit to the school was organised by Northamptonshire-based The Mintridge Foundation - a charity dedicated to enhancing life skills in young people through sport which Laura works with as an ambassador.

Headteacher Richard Albert said: "It is a fantastic opportunity for the children to meet a gold medal winner.

"She's been here before and she's reinforcing the message of keeping going, having determination and having a healthy lifestyle.

"I'd like to thank The Mintridge Foundation."

Ten-year-olds Ottilie and Olivia with Laura and her medal

Laura toured the classrooms to chat to the children and answer questions, sharing her training stories including how she had to dodge fish when preparing for the Para-canoe event.

The 30-year-old, who also works as a hockey coach, was born with talipes - or club foot - and had been left with no ankle movement in her left foot after surgery.

Determined to follow her sporting dream, Laura played hockey for Wales and reached two Paralympic finals in athletics in 2016 before switching to Para-canoe and taking gold in Tokyo.

She has also just returned from being crowned world champion in the Para-canoe in Copenhagen last month.

Heads, shoulders, knees and cone

Laura said: "I have really enjoyed myself. It's what it's all about, meeting the children, it's so enjoyable. And working with a charity like The Mintridge Foundation is so inspiring.

"It's nice to get back into schools and be that inspiration to them. I'm bridging the gap from what they see on TV to their own experience."

After showing off her Para-canoe paddle and her gold medal, Laura led a PE session in the playground and sports field with fun games and challenges.

Nine-year-old pupil Elizabeth said: "It's really amazing to meet Laura. She has inspired me to try harder at my swimming. I'll try my best."

High fives during the warm-up

Alfie, 10, added: "It's been really fun. She's inspired me to get better at my football - I would like to play in a big match now."

After spending the whole day at the school, Laura presented a copy of Game On by Sue Anstiss - a book exploring women's sport - to add to their library.

Laura put the children through their paces
Having fun - Laura leads the warm-up