Commonwealth Games qualification on the line
Gundagai para-athlete Indiana Cooper will trek to Sydney Olympic Park next week, competing at the Australian track and field championships, with the youngster hoping she can medal and qualify for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Across Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Indiana will contest the 100m and 200m sprint events, competing in both the under 20s and opens categories, and the 16-year-old star will be taking on the best and brightest athletes in the country.
Indiana, who is currently ranked eighth in the Commonwealth in the 100m sprint, believes the stronger competition will push her towards her goal of competing at Birmingham later this year.
“I feel confident in myself that I can run a really good time,” Indiana said.
“Coming up against faster people will push me more and I need that ahead of the Comm (Commonwealth) games.”
“In the under 20s, there will be a lot of good people in the races, and there are different classifications.
“It will be tougher, because they are higher classifications, and I will have to run a faster time then what I am doing now to medal but I know I can run a better time.”
At the moment, Indiana is 0.44 seconds off the Commonwealth Games qualifying time in the 100m sprint but the youngster believes she can qualify.
“I basically need to get down to 13.85 or really close to that,” Indiana said.
“14.29 is my best time, but that was in a race with a minus 2.0 headwind and that impacted my run.
“I am very confident I can run that time. I have been putting in a lot of effort at training.
“Every Friday, I am training with two Paralympic coaches at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) and they are focusing on my technique, which has helped a lot.”
A strong performance could also see Indiana move higher up on the Commonwealth rankings, and she will be trying hard to medal and do her best.
“I do feel some pressure to perform but I am looking forward to it,” Indiana said.
“I am currently ranked eighth in the Commonwealth and the top seven get automatically chosen to go to the Commonwealth games, so I will be trying hard to get my ranker higher or make the qualifying time.”
Indiana explained that she had her final training session before nationals on Tuesday, and now it was about preparing and fine-turning ahead of her biggest meet of the year.
“I just had my hard session, and for the rest of the week and up until Wednesday will be about working on technique and form,” Indiana said.
7 Plus will be live-streaming the Australian track and field championships and readers can check the times below to see when Indiana is racing.
10:50am: 100m under 20s heats
1:45pm: 100m under 20s final
10:20am: 100m open heats
5pm: 100m open final
9:30am: 200m under 20s heat
1:10pm: 200m under 20s final