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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Melissa Breen returns from Japan after her best run ever

Melissa Breen returns from Japan after her best run ever

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Breen’s best ever 100m still not enough

By David Polkinghorne
Canberra Times
May 6, 2012

Melissa Breen returns from Japan after her best run ever JD-breen-artlead_20120506193119286449-420x0
Athlete Melissa Breen crossed the line to win the 100m at the AIS. Photo: Richard Briggs

Canberra sprinter Melissa Breen has capped her Japanese tour with her ‘‘best run ever’’ despite again missing out on the elusive A-qualifier for the London Olympic Games.

Breen finished second behind American Allyson Felix in the women’s 100 metres at the Golden Grand Prix in Kawasaki yesterday.
The 21-year-old stopped the clock at 11.38 seconds, 0.16s behind the 2009 200m world champion.

It means Breen is yet to record an A-qualifying time for London but she has run two times within 0.02s of the 11.29s she needed to be guaranteed of a ticket to the London Olympic Games.

She has also run multiple B-qualifying times and is eligible for Athletics Australia to give her a discretionary selection.
But for Breen the time wasn’t important.

She was thrilled just to have beaten home sprinters of the quality of Japanese record holder Chisato Fukushima, as well as Ivet Lalova, from Bulgaria.

Lalova has a 100m personal best of 10.77s giving Breen hope she can mix it with the best.

Breen led the field for the first 80m but was run down by Felix.

‘‘I’m just really happy right now. I really can’t care about the time because that’s probably been my best run ever in my career. Conditions were horrendous today, there were massive storms, the track was wet, it was windy as, so I’m just really stoked with the way I performed,’’ she told The Canberra Times.

Now she will return home to Kambah and begin a month-long block of training.

She hadn’t decided whether to run any more races in a bid to record an A-qualifier before the June 11 deadline; instead she’ll sit down with her coach Matthew Beckenham to decide.

‘‘It would be detrimental to my performance later in the year if I keep chasing [times] now. I need to get some training under my belt. I think that’s the plan for now but I’ll know more after a chat and debrief with my manager and my coach,’’ Breen said.

Whatever happens this year for Breen, she has been backed by Australia’s all-time fastest woman as having a bright future in athletics.

Melinda Gainsford-Taylor holds the Australian women’s 100m and 200m records – marks she set more than 15 years ago.

She ran 11.12s at Sestriere, Italy, in 1994 and 22.23s in the 200m at Stuttgart, Germany, in 1997.

Gainsford-Taylor wants to see her records broken so she is excited about the development of Breen.

She sees a lot of potential in the young Canberran – potential that might not be reached for another six or seven years when she reaches her physical peak.

Sprinting requires strength and it takes time to develop the powerful muscles needed to fly down the track.

‘‘I think she’s got a huge future, a massive one obviously. She did run a very quick time when she was 18 [11.33s] but this year she’s been incredibly consistent and it seems to be the case that at the age of 27 is when an athlete peaks, so from that perspective [she has a lot of potential],’’ Gainsford-Taylor said.



Breen still hopes for a second chance

Daniel Lane
Sydney Morning Herald
May 13, 2012

Melissa Breen returns from Japan after her best run ever Ipad-art-wide-melissa-breen-420x0
Misses out on Olympic qualifying time by a whisker ... Melissa Breen.
Photo: Richard Briggs

OLYMPIC aspirant Melissa Breen said she had accepted her chance of selection in the Australian Olympic team was in the ''lap of the gods'' - and the Rio clause - after running herself ragged while chasing a lane in the 100-metre sprint.

Breen missed the Olympic A-qualifying standard time in Japan last weekend by a painful 0.002 of a second - or 18 millimetres - and had reached the stage where she needed to preserve her body and rely on the ''Rio clause'', a concession for those athletes who could compete in the 2016 Games in Brazil and had posted a B-qualifying time.

''Matty [Beckenham] my coach said I'd done great and we have to get back, think about the long term and make me better for the next couple of months,'' she told The Sun-Herald. ''I'm committed to that and I'm not going to go chasing around the world for a qualifier … I've done that and it is just a shame I was not just a 200th of a second quicker.''

Athletics Australia chairman of selectors Dion Russell said his organisation could not put Breen out of her misery because, under AOC guidelines, the Rio clause can't be enacted until Athletics Australia's final meeting next month. ''At that point we'll consider Melissa Breen along with some other athletes who are in a similar position to her,'' he said. ''I have kept in regular contact with Melissa's coach and am keeping him updated … . Ultimately it was his and Mel's decision as to how long they wanted to keep chasing the time.

''Everything is discretionary from the nomination trials until the end of June, so everyone is in the same discretionary bucket. Those who do the qualifiers have a stronger case, but those who don't, and Melissa is one of them alongside Josh Ross, Steve Solomon, John Steffensen and the shot putter Dale Stevenson, will get the opportunity to put their best case forward.''

Breen accepted her fate was out of her hands but said regardless of what happened she planned to compete at the Olympics. ''The selectors can use their discretion and it's hard to know in four years' time what could happen,'' she said. ''I'd like to think I'll be a finalist at the Olympics and breaking 11 seconds [in 2016]. It's in the lap of the gods at the moment and it's hard. I've made the decision this is the situation I'm in and I can either stress about it or I can be happy and just keep going and be proud of what I have done.

''Through all the haze and everything about running 11.29 what's been lost is the great season I have had. It's been four years since I have ran a PB in the 100 and I've run two in a couple of weeks apart from each other. I have done everything possible and I can't be disappointed any more. ''

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