Indiana Cooper impresses at Coles Little Athletics Australia National U15 Camp
Indiana Cooper spent her school holidays impressing coaches and training with Paralympians at the Coles Little Athletics National Under 15 Camp held at the Australian Institute of Sport from September 29 to October 2.
She then followed up the Little Athletics National Camp with a stint at the first ever Asia- Oceania Regional Female Cerebral Palsy (CP) Football Camp at Valentine Sports Park in Sydney, training under the guidance of Pararoo, Taj Lynch, and Pararoos Head Coach, Kai Lammert.
Indi attends Tumut and District Little Athletics and was chosen to attend the Coles Little Athletics National Under 15 Camp after impressive performances in sprints and long jump at state and national championships for the past three seasons.
The talented 13-year- old, who has dystonic cerebral palsy in all four limbs and severe short sightedness, said she is proud to have paved the way for other athletes with disabilities to attend in the future.
“The camp was an amazing experience and it’s an honour to be among the first group of athletes with disabilities to attend,” Indi said.
Sarah Walsh along with fellow paralympian Michael Roeger were on hand to mentor the aspiring athletes.
“It was so great to have a paralympian like Sarah as a coach. To be able to work one-on-one with her was so helpful and I learnt so much,” Indi said.
“I never thought I’d get the opportunity to be coached by someone like Sarah who is where I want to be someday – a Paralympian – so it was really inspiring for me to spend time with her. I even added about ten centimetres to my personal best in long jump after Sarah’s coaching.”
Three-time para- lympian and triple world record holder Michael Roeger said he was delighted to see the next generation of Paralympians coming through Little Athletics.
“It’s so great to see young athletes with dis- abilities now have an opportunity to attend the Coles Little Athletics National Under 15 Camp,” he said.
“Camps like these can be the catalyst for talented athletes like Indiana to pursue their athletics dreams and the experience and learning will last a life- time.”
The Coles Little Athletics National Under 15 Camp provides an opportunity for the best junior athletes to hone their athletics skills under the tutelage of elite coaches. Athletes also participate in a range of personal development workshops including leadership, psychology and recovery.
In addition to sup- porting the Little Athletics Australia National Under 15 Camp, around 350 Coles stores across Australia have donated more than 2.5 million bananas to Little Athletics centres since September 2017 to provide kids with a healthy snack during training.
Indi was chosen to attend the first ever Asia- Oceania Regional Female Cerebral Palsy (CP) Football Camp at Valentine Sports Park in Sydney from October 8 to 12 where she was one of the youngest players in the camp squad.
A huge week of cerebral palsy football kicked-off at Valentine Sports Park with the 2019 National CP Foot- ball Championships between October 3 and 6, in a tournament which serves as a talent identifier and pathway for the Australian National CP Football Team, the Pararoos.
Following the National CP Football Championships, the focus of Australia’s CP football community shifted to the hosting of the inaugural Asia- Oceania Regional Female CP Football Camp where Indi was one of twelve players from
Australia, joined by four participants from Japan.
Football Federation Australia ran the camp in conjunction with the International Federation of CP Football and Football NSW, with the camp serving as the
launchpad for a national CP women’s football team.
“The inaugural 2019 Asia-Oceania Regional Female CP Football Camp featured players from Sydney, regional
NSW, Western Australia, Tasmania, and also four participants from Japan, and demonstrates Australia’s eagerness to advance CP football for women in the region,” said Pararoos Head Coach, Kai Lammert.
One of the highlights for Indi was training with young Pararoos star, Taj Lynch.
“The soccer camp was pretty amazing as well. We got taught by Pararoo, Taj, which was so awesome,” she said. Indi also got the opportunity to go to a training run for the Australian women’s national soccer team, the Matildas, and got the chance to speak with the team afterwards.
She now has her sights set on the Australian All Schools Championships which will take place from December 6 to 8 at the WA Athletics Stadium, Mount Claremont, Western Australia.