Breen’s best ever 100m still not enough
By David Polkinghorne
May 6, 2012
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.