Gundagai’s superstar athlete Indi Cooper is bound for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Cooper will travel to England as the youngest member of the Australian athletics squad, racing alongside previously announced athletes Rhiannon Clarke and Ella Pardy in the T38 100m event.
The selection caps off a tremendous rise for the young sprinter who was inspired to get involved in the sport while watching Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games champion Isis Holt compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Cooper, who has known about her Commonwealth Games selection for some time, admitted it was a hard secret to keep before getting the green light to make her announcement to the Gundagai Independent.
“I actually found out about it two weeks ago, but it was all very confidential until today (Tuesday) and it was a bit of a struggle to keep it a secret for that long,” Cooper laughed.
The 16-year-old was over the moon with her selection, explaining she had been through a rollercoaster of emotions since being named in the Australian team.
“I was very excited, and I shed a few tears, but they were happy tears,” Cooper said.
“I can’t wait to represent Australia because it will be my first time representing Australia and competing at an international event.”
Cooper becomes the fifth Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipient on the Australian team bound for Birmingham, and she explained that she would continue to train in Canberra before flying out to England next month ahead of her much-anticipated race on August 3.
“I just train three days a week in Canberra now, and I leave on July 14, so it doesn’t give me a lot of time, but it is good that it is close, and I can focus on my event,” Cooper said.
“I compete on the 3rd of August, which is a straight final, meaning there will only be eight of us and I only get one chance.
“I just have to take my time in getting ready and make sure everything is right because I only have one chance and that needs to be perfect.”
Cooper enters the Commonwealth Games with a personal best of 14.20 seconds for the 100m sprint, and the Gundagai product hopes to break the 14 seconds, while also doing her town and country proud in Birmingham.
“I just want to do my best and hopefully run sub-14,” Cooper said.
The young athlete thanked the community and her family for helping her get to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, with the gracious young athlete proud to be from Gundagai.
“I want to thank Gundagai and the community for helping me and mum and dad (Hope and Andrew Cooper) and everyone else that helped; it’s just really exciting,” Cooper said.