Gundagai’s Indiana “Indi” Cooper is one of four recipients of the 2021/22 Kurt Fearnley Scholarship which will help support the young Para-athlete towards qualifying for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Rising star of the track Indiana Cooper was thrilled to be announced as one of the four Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipients for the 2021/22 financial year to provide the ideal runway to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in July 2022.
Hailing from Gundagai, in southwest New South Wales, a town famous for the ‘dog on the tuckerbox’ tourist, but with Indi’s rapid ascent it might be known as ‘Indiana Cooper’s hometown’ in the future.
The 15-year-old competes in the T38 category from the 100m sprint through to the 800m event and already boasts an Australian under-16 record in the T38 800m, as well as three under-17 records in the T38 100m, 200m and 400m events.
It has been a tremendous rise from the young sprinter, who was inspired from watching her friend and Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist Isis Holt compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympics that inspired her to take up athletics.
“I watched Isis win the two silvers and a bronze at the Rio Paralympics,” Indi said.
“After watching Isis, I decided to give athletics a go.”
Since then, Indi has developed a love for running, enjoying both training and competitions as well the opportunity to make friends and travel across Australia.
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It was at the NSW All-Schools Carnival in December 2020, where Indi announced herself as one to watch with a stellar run in the T38 800m event.
Winning the race and setting a new Australian age record in the process, lowering the previous mark by over three seconds.
She has now set her sights on “trying to get that U20 record” in the Australian T38 800m next.
The current 10-year-old record that she is chasing sits at a time of 2:39.16, held by Paralympian Torita Blake and is only a mere three seconds off Indi’s personal best.
While Cooper has an impressive range of events, she makes it clear that the 100m is her preferred event and will be her focus for next year.
“My goal is to hopefully get under 14 seconds for the 100m,” Cooper said.
“Then hopefully make it to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year”.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will have the largest Para-sport program in the Games history, including the Women’s T37/38 100m event.
After recently watching the Tokyo Paralympics, Indi feels even more motivated to put herself in contention for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
If she were to be selected this would be her first time representing Australia and is looking forward to having the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship assist with her training.
“I didn’t think I would be chosen for the Scholarship, so finding out that I am a recipient was really special,” Indi said.
The Kurt Fearnley Scholarship is a joint venture between Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club of NSW.
KURT FEARNLEY SCHOLARSHIP CONTINUES TO SUPPORT NEXT GENERATION OF PARA-SPORT STARS
Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club of New South Wales welcome the next class of Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipients who are targeting the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.READ MORE
The Carbine Club has a proud tradition of supporting junior sport in New South Wales and the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship furthers this commitment to best enable the latest four young Para-sport athletes to reach their goals of representing Australia at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Evoking the spirit of the Carbine Club, which celebrates sporting endeavour and thus recognises that winning is important, but grace and courage also matter.
Traits which have been exhibited by the four deserving young stars in the latest class of the scholarship initiative, Para-sport young stars like Indi Cooper.
Commonwealth Games Australia are thrilled to have Indi Cooper as part of the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship Program and are excited to follow along as she chases her goals.