MOSSLEY’S Mike Coogan is a double world athletics champion after only becoming a sprinter in his forties.
The East Cheshire Harrier won two gold medals for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the World Indoor Masters Championships in Torun, Poland.
It was incredible bearing in mind Mike, 46, was up against some athletes with impressive CVs like Francis Obikwelu who won a silver in the 100m at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Chilean Sebatian Keitel, a winner of medals at the Pan American and South American Games and well-known American sprinter Jeff Laynes.
“The majority are people who have run all their lives and I only started five years ago doing parkruns before being invited to do sprinting with East Cheshire Harriers in 2015,” explained the civil engineer from Huddersfield Road whose main sporting involvement was previously as a cricketer for Newton Heath.
“When I found out there were masters’ events, there was no holding back. I have competed in three European championships, but this was my first worlds.
“The great beauty is that the 5,000 competitors were a mix of club athletes to former Olympians.”
Mike, who has been in magnificent form recently, deserved his selection and decided to focus on the 200m in the veterans age 45/50 category.
As in any major championship event, Mike had to qualify through the heats first. Mike went in heat two winning convincingly and with some left in the tank qualifying in first place with a time of 24:08 sec.
In the afternoon, Mike went in the first semi-final and had to be professional and focus to make the final, which he did winning his semi-final in a time of 23:29.
Later that day Mike went in the final, with his sights on world gold against the best athletes on the planet, a tough test.
Mike timed the race to perfection and pulled away in the last 30 metres to become world champion in a time of 23:1 with Marc Ozier (France) second in 23:46 and Mark Giglio (Australia) third in 23:47.
The following day Mike went in the 4 x 200m for GB hoping to win another gold medal to add to his individual 200m.
Mike went on the anchor leg for the team and stormed round to help the team to a time of 1:34:75 which was good for the gold beating Hungary and Spain who were second and third respectively.
East Cheshire Harriers posted on their website: “To be the best in the world at your event is something words can’t explain what an amazing achievement this is.
“Mike is an inspiration to us all and everyone at the club can be extremely proud.”
Mike is hoping to compete in the outdoor world championships which are being held in Venice in April.