52-year-old Sugiura embraces new challenge at Asian Para Games

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 Fifety two-year-old Japanese cyclist Keiko Sugiura emerged as a strong medal contender at the ongoing Hangzhou Asian Para Games after she clinched two medals and broke the Games record twice.

Sugiura claimed a silver medal in the women’s C1-3 3000m individual pursuit on October 23 after dashing the previous C3 class record in the qualifying round in the morning.

In the women’s C1-3 500m time trial the following day, Sugiura clinched bronze and set a new Asian Para Games record for the C3 class with a time of 39.995 seconds.

A longtime cycling enthusiast, Sugiura was injured during a road race, resulting in a series of multiple contusions, crushed fractures, brain dysfunction and other injuries.

During her rehabilitation, Sugiura picked up para-cycling and returned to the road afterward.

In 2021, 50-year-old Sugiura won the women’s C1-5 time trial at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, becoming Japan’s oldest-ever para gold medalist.

“I lost my memory because of the injury, but it made me not afraid to race fearlessly,” said the 52-year-old, who will continue cycling despite her age.

“I keep trying every year, and every year older is a new challenge for me.”

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