Nelli Cooman

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Nelli Cooman
Nelli Cooman.jpg
Nelli Cooman in 1986
Personal information
Born (1964-06-06) 6 June 1964 (age 56)
Paramaribo, Suriname
Height 1.59 m (5 ft 3 in)
Weight 60 kg (130 lb)
Sport Sprint
Club Atletiek- en Trimclub '75, Haren

Cornelli "Nelli" Antoinette Hariëtte Cooman (born 6 June 1964) is a former Dutch athlete of Surinamese origin. At the 60 metres, she is two-time World indoor champion, six-time European indoor champion and former world record holder, running 7.00 secs in 1986. She also won 19 national titles.[1]

Cooman grew up in Suriname in a family together with four sisters and one brother. When she was eight, the family moved to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. She started to play soccer and soon got the nickname "Miss Pele". At sixteen, she was discovered to be a very good sprinter during a sporting event at school; thus she began a career in athletics. Three months later, she competed in the European Junior Championships in Utrecht and finished seventh in the 100 m sprint. At seventeen, she won the silver medal in the National Championships. After graduating secondary school she turned professional with Henk Kraaijenhof as trainer.

During her time as a professional athlete from 1984 to 1995 she was twice world indoor champion in the 60 m (1987 and 1989), and six times European indoor champion. At the 1986 European Indoor Championships she won in a time of 7.00 seconds, setting a world record. Because of that achievement she was elected Dutch Sportswoman of the year. Her world record lasted until February 1992 and still stands as national record. Cooman took part twice in the Summer Olympics for the Netherlands: in 1988 in the 100 metres and 4 × 100 m relay and in 1992 in 100 metres.[1]

In 1995, Cooman ended her career as a professional athlete.


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Netherlands
1984 European Indoor Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 3rd 60 m 7.23
1985 European Indoor Championships Piraeus, Greece 1st 60 m 7.10
1986 European Indoor Championships Madrid, Spain 1st 60 m 7.00
1986 European Championships Stuttgart, West Germany 3rd 100 m 11.08
1987 European Indoor Championships Lievin, France 1st 60 m 7.01
1987 World Indoor Championships Indianapolis, United States 1st 60 m 7.08
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy semi-final 100 m 11.21
1988 European Indoor Championships Budapest, Hungary 1st 60 m 7.04
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea semi-final 100 m 11.13
semi-final 4 × 100 m
1989 European Indoor Championships The Hague, Netherlands 1st 60 m 7.15
1989 World Indoor Championships Budapest, Hungary 1st 60 m 7.05
1990 European Indoor Championships Glasgow, Scotland 3rd 60 m 7.14
1991 World Indoor Championships Seville, Spain semi-final 60 m 7.28
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain quarter-final 100 m 11.55
1994 European Indoor Championships Paris, France 1st 60 m 7.17
1994 European Championships Helsinki, Finland 5th 100 m 11.40
1995 World Indoor Championships Barcelona, Spain 6th 60 m 7.17


Since 1997 the Nelli Cooman Games are organised in the city of Stadskanaal. At first these games were only for youth-category competitors but they grew to be a national A-status KNAU (Royal Dutch Track and Field Union) event. Cooman is the 'honorary chairwoman' of this event.[1]

Dutch singer Gerard Cox wrote a song about Nelli Cooman to a tune by Stevie Wonder.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nelli Fiere-Cooman.

External links

Preceded by
Bettine Vriesekoop
Dutch Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by
Irene de Kok