Cooper buoyed by All Schools success

Indiana Cooper with her medal haul from the 2021 NSW All School Championships.

Para-athlete Indiana Cooper has tasted more success in 2021, winning two gold and two silver medals at the NSW All School Championships held at Sydney Olympic Park on December 10, 11 and 12.

Indi claimed gold in the 100m and 200m, and silver in the 800m and long jump.

Despite the interruptions to the season due to Covid, Indi said this has been her most successful year yet.

“At the start of the year I came into the athletics season feeling my best and that showed with me achieving so many huge personal bests,” she said.

“It was definitely hard coping with Covid. I lost my motivation and, on some days, felt like I would quit athletics, but I pushed through.

“Getting the chance to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics this year was so amazing, and even though I didn’t get the qualifier I felt so proud of myself for getting so close.

“All Schools was definitely a competition to see where my times were, and although they weren’t the best, I made the most of it.”

Now, Cooper is eyeing more success at the Athletics NSW All Comers meet in Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday, as she hopes to qualify for World Para Events.

“It is a WPA (World Para Athletics), and AA (Athletics Australia) meet,” she said. 

“It means I will compete against other para-athletes, and it helps me to qualify for world events.”

Cooper has had to switch up her training, after recently focusing on the 400m as she attempted to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics.

Now, Cooper is focused on the 100m sprint, which will be offered at the Birmingham Commonwealth games next year.

“When Indi was trying to get to the Tokyo Paralympics games, it was the 400m and now that we have switched it over to 100m, we have switched her program over to sprint training,” Indiana’s mother, Hope Cooper explained.

“There is no set time from Athletics Australia to qualify, but you have to be in the top three in the country and top seven in the Commonwealth and right now, Indi is third in Australia and eighth in the Commonwealth.”

With Cooper awarded the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship three months ago, she is now under the tutelage of Rowan Vergano with the Rogue Track and Field team in Canberra and is travelling to Canberra twice a week to train at the Australian Institute of Sport. 

Cooper said she was feeling as good as ever and her goal was to break the magical 14 second barrier. 

“I am feeling really confident. I feel like I can do a good time,” Indiana said.

“The time I want to get down to is sub-14, or close enough to 14 seconds and the Commonwealth Games and the World Para Champs are the two big events I want to compete at.”

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