MOSSLEY’S Mike Coogan is celebrating again after becoming a double European athletics champion.The 47-year-old sprinter won the 200 metres and was a member of the victorious 4 x 100m relay team in the European Masters Championships which were held at Jesolo, near Venice. The event is held every two years and this time attracted more than 5,000 athletes from 43 countries.
And the double success was six months after Mike, from Huddersfield Road, won two golds at the European indoor championships in Torun, Poland, in the 200m and 4 x 200m relay.
Mike revealed in his preparation he had done lots of hill sprints around Mossley and track sessions twice a week at SportCity. He will be using their indoor track for training throughout the winter.
This time Mike, a member of East Cheshire Harriers who only took up sprinting in his forties, was up against former top athletes in the 45/50 years veterans’ age category.
Among those he vanquished was Swede Mattias Sunneborn, who Mike described as the Greg Rutherford of his generation.Sunneborn, a formidable long jumper, was eighth in the long jump final at the 1996 Olympic Games and was a silver medallist at the 1995 world indoor championships as well as being an accomplished sprinter.
Mike said: “I had lane four in the final and Mattias was on my inside lane. We were level coming off the bend but I pulled away in the last 50m and in the end won by a decent margin of 5m.
“The relays were held two days later and we were short on runners so had to call on the services of a long jumper and a 400m runner.
“They both ran really well and we managed to win while narrowly missing out on the championship record by 0.2s.
“We’re all good friends off the track so this was a highlight for me.”
Mike, who works as a civil engineer, clocked a best time of 23.1sec for the 200m in the Europeans.
And he has set his sights on breaking the world indoor 200m record this winter explaining he is only 0.2sec from that on current times.
“It has been a pleasing season and I am preparing for indoors and it is good to have a target which is a world record,” he said.
In the earlier successes at the world championships, Mike was up against Francis Obikwelu, who won a silver in the 100m at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games; Chilean Sebastian Keitel, a Pan American and South American Games medallist and well-known American sprinter Jeff Laynes.
Mike, previously a cricketer for Newton Heath, only began running five years ago doing local parkruns and then in 2015 invited to do sprint training at East Cheshire Harriers.
He added the great beauty of the championships is they are a mix of athletes from club runners to former Olympians and internationals.
The next major outdoor event is the 2020 world championships in Toronto with the European indoors in Portugal in March.
As Mike has to self-fund these trips, he is looking for sponsorship and can be contacted on 07989 088604.