Breen to boost Olympics bid in Berlin with career first

Australian sprinter Melissa Breen will go to Berlin for her first indoor athletics season. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
Australian sprinter Melissa Breen will go to Berlin for her first indoor athletics season. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Canberra sprint star Melissa Breen will trade the athletics field for a short stint on the indoor track as she looks to boost her preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The fastest woman in Australian sprint history will head to Berlin in late November for an indoor season for the first time in her decorated career.

Breen will compete in individual 60-metre sprint events and has been training to be as explosive as possible on her starts.

The short sprint takes just over seven seconds to finish and Breen says there's no time to make a mistake.

"The starts are absolutely critical so I have to be as explosive as possible," Breen said.

"It'll only help my [100m sprint] coming back and if I can really nail those starts over there, then it'll only give me confidence for the Australian domestic season come January.

"It's something I've always thought about but it's just been really challenging timing-wise. When it's indoor season, it's our outdoor Australian season and that's the priority.

"When the opportunity came up it was too good to say no, and something I think I would regret if I never put myself in that position to compete indoors. I think it'll be a lot of fun."

The 29-year-old sprinter will return to Canberra before the full swing of the Australian season begins in January.

The ultimate goal is to make my third Olympics, which is why I'm doing what I'm doing everyday,

Melissa Breen

The Canberra-based athlete will have the perfect opportunity to prepare her bid to become a three-time Olympian when construction on the AIS track finishes at the start of 2020.

Sport Australia and the AIS will invest more than $2 million on an athletics track facelift and the new blue Mondo surface will be same surface used at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.

Breen hopes for a Tokyo Olympic Games swansong before finishing her athletics career but will have to run a qualifying time at the Australian Track and Field Championships at Sydney Olympic Park next March.

"The ultimate goal is to make my third Olympics, which is why I'm doing what I'm doing everyday," Breen said.

"There's still qualification times and selection trials to go but gearing up to make that team again would be great."

Breen has been riddled with injuries since finishing seventh in her heat at the 2016 Rio Games.

The two-time Olympian slowly made her way back onto the track after suffering sciatic nerve, foot and hamstring problems last year. She's recently been managing a bone and joint problem in her foot, but they haven't dampened her drive to book a ticket to Tokyo.

"It's been a challenging time body-wise since Rio, to be honest," Breen said.

"It's a matter of managing the load and not doing too much at this late end of my career - more is less. I'm 29-years-old now and the body is weathered.

"Right now, we just need to ensure I get through some training and give myself time to recover before going again for the next season."

Breen recently returned to Canberra after competing in the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha.

She represented Australia in the 4x100m relay but the team was disqualified in the opening heat.

Breen started off the quartet with Nana Owusu-Afriyie on the second leg, Madison Coates running the bend and Celeste Mucci finishing.

An over-extension from leg two to three led to the team not getting the baton round and they did not progress to the final.

"We had a bit of a hiccup at the second change, the girls got a little bit too close to each other and just tripped a little bit," Breen said.

"Thankfully they weren't injured or anything, but it happens all the time in relays. We're all disappointed to not get a result but the team is very young except for me.

"We're shattered but it was just another opportunity and it won't be the last for them. I'm sure they'll come back next season more experienced and better for that."

This story Breen to boost Olympics bid in Berlin with career first first appeared on The Canberra Times.