Sprint­ing to the top

Central Leader - - Sport - By Scott Mor­gan

Young sprinter An­drea Koe­nen has shown up her Aussie ri­vals twice at the same event.

The Mt Al­bert res­i­dent took out gold in the 100 me­tre and 200m at the Aus­tralian un­der-20 Track and Field Champs in Ade­laide ear­lier this month.

While she won gold in both events as the top ranked sprinter at the New Zealand Na­tion­als in March, re­peat­ing that suc­cess in Aus­tralia came as a bit of a shock.

“I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing the wins in Ade­laide. There’s a lot more peo­ple who can run closer to your time and are go­ing to push you fur­ther.” er­cise sci­ence, the Auck­land Uni­ver­sity stu­dent knows she has to put in the work to be suc­cess­ful.

“I’m with my coaches ev­ery chance I get,” she says.

An­drea is hop­ing her re­cent suc­cess will see her se­lected for the New Zealand team that will travel to the World Uni­ver­sity Cham­pi­onships in Ser­bia dur­ing July.

She’s al­ready had some over­seas ex­pe­ri­ence, at­tend­ing the youth Com­mon­wealth com­pe­ti­tion in In­dia last year.

“It was to­tally amaz- ing to be able to com­pete over there at that level.”

Waitakere City run­ning coach Charles Gibb says An­drea’s wins in Aus­tralia are a rar­ity in the ath­let­ics world.

“It’s big­ger than Texas. Usu­ally it’s a big deal when ath­letes get a place.”

He puts her suc­cess down to pure hard work.

“She’s got a lot of ded­i­ca­tion. An­drea is re­ally fo­cused on what she wants to do,” he says.

“She’s at the gym in the morn­ing and at the track in the af­ter­noon.”

Mr Gibb says trav­el­ling to Aus­tralia has helped im­prove An­drea’s men­tal tough­ness.

“They will find a fault with you just to nig­gle you.”

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