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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Melissa Breen faces early retirement

Melissa Breen faces early retirement

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1Melissa Breen faces early retirement Empty Melissa Breen faces early retirement on Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:03 pm



Breen faces early retirement

David Polkinghorne
Sports reporter at The Canberra Times
October 21, 2013

Mel Breen could be forced to retire after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro if she doesn't receive funding from Athletics Australia following her appeal.

Her coach Matthew Beckenham appears to be on the outer with AA as well, despite the Canberra-based coach taking three athletes to the London Olympics.

Breen didn't receive any funding when AA released its new contract system, with most of the money paid to our top athletes and less help given to emerging talent.

The 100 and 200-metre sprinter had 30 days to lodge an appeal, which she did, and now she's waiting for a response from AA.

Rather than wait in limbo, the pair were pushing on with training.

AA were required to examine her case within 15 days, which expired at the weekend, and then give their final verdict ''as soon as practical after that''.

If the original decision not to fund Breen wasn't overturned, Beckenham thought the 23-year-old might retire after the Rio Games. The pair have already committed to working together until then, with Beckenham having a similar agreement with hurdler Lauren Boden.

Breen would only be 30 at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which she hoped to compete at.

''She's been told she's not a high priority from the sport and she's thinking 2016 might be it for her,'' Beckenham said.

''It depends on how well she can survive financially. Hopefully she can get support and get results, and make a career out of it.''

Beckenham has been offered a role as national relay coach, but looks set to turn it down and instead concentrate on finding ''the next Mel and Lauren'' as a private coach. He said he'd been offered a ''minimum contract'' with AA, well below what he thought he was worth.

Beckenham, who represented Australia as a hurdler at the Sydney Olympics, said it was ''disheartening'' his association with AA would end. But he said things would just go back to how they were in 2010 - when he wasn't associated with AA.

He was then brought on board with a two-year contract due to the success he was having with Breen, Boden and Brendan Cole, but looks to again be on the outer.

Beckenham said not being affiliated with AA would prove problematic when the Commonwealth Games arrive next year, if both Boden and Breen qualify.

''The reality for me is I don't think I'm a priority under the new Winning Edge [program] in terms of being a priority coach for Athletics Australia, and that's disheartening for me, given I've been committed to the system since 2005 as a scholarship coach and had repeated athletes on teams since 2009, with three on the Olympic team,'' Beckenham said.

''So it's hard for me to face that there's not much opportunity to be a coach in Canberra in the system.''

2Melissa Breen faces early retirement Empty Re: Melissa Breen faces early retirement on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:25 pm



Breen determined to prove Athletics Australia wrong

Canberra Times
November 01, 2013

Canberra sprinter Melissa Breen has vowed not to cut any corners as she tries to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games despite being deemed ''worthless'' by Athletics Australia.

The fastest woman in the country over 100 metres received an email on Thursday dismissing her appeal to be added to the National Athlete Support Structure funding list released in September.

The 23-year-old met the qualifying time to be considered for the ''development'' level of funding, but the organisation didn't believe she showed enough improvement to suggest the London Olympian could make the final at either the next two world championships or the 2016 Olympic Games.

''We wanted to go through the appeal process to exhaust every avenue, but it's gut-wrenching to know they don't want me to be a part of it,'' Breen said.

''They have considered me [not valuable] and that I'm not capable of achieving things in this sport.

''It's hard to accept you're own federation sees you as nothing.

''That's how they have assessed me and think I'm worthless.''

Breen represented Australia in the 100m at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the past two world championships and last year's Olympics Games. She lowered her personal best time to 11.25 seconds in March this year before injuries and illness affected her performances at the world titles in Russia.

Breen will continue to train with coach Matt Beckenham and has her sights set on breaking the Australian record during the summer season and qualifying for next year's Commonwealth Games. Her long-term goal remains to be the first Australian woman to crack the 11-second barrier.

''I will not cut corners, I'm a perfectionist in every sense of the word,'' Breen said.

''We'll find a way for it to work.

''It might not be the same as it was before, but there's no way I'm going to do it at 80 per cent.
''Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean it's impossible.

''There's nothing easy about what's ahead, but I believe I can do it and my coach believes I can do it, that's all I need.''

Without any funding to fall back on, Breen is unsure whether she will continue with her athletics career beyond 2016.

''I saw myself running as long as I could, going to 2020 and still a part of me sees that, but I need to survive,'' Breen said.

''You need to be able to pay for things to make a living, so it's something I need to reassess.

''I'm relieved in a way that the appeal is done and I can wipe my hands of this whole situation.

''I'm ready to train my butt off to give myself every chance to break the Australian record this season, to push myself harder than I ever have before.''

Breen will return to racing at the Queanbeyan Gift from November 22-23 and is looking to the Canberra corporate sector for financial support.

''I'm a local girl and I think I could be a great asset to anyone,'' Breen said.

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