BREEN Melissa < Back  
Sport Athletics
CGA Australia   
Gender Women
Born 17 Sep 1990 in Canberra, AUS
Height1.74 m
Weight 65 kg
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Residence Canberra, ACT, AUS
Occupation Athlete, Coach
Languages English
Higher education Fitness and Exercise Management - Australian Vocational Training Academy: Australia
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She first tried athletics at age five at Tuggeranong Athletics Club in Canberra, ACT, Australia.
Why this sport? She began doing athletics because she wanted to be like her older brother Matt, who was already doing the sport. "From there I developed a love for the sport, especially sprinting. I guess the event picks you, and in that sense the 100-metres picked me. I loved it probably because it was the shortest race, and I am now really glad I did."
Club / Team Athletics ACT: Canberra, ACT, AUS
Name of coach Matt Beckenham [personal], AUS from 2006
International Debut
Year 2008
Competing for Australia
Tournament National Championships
Location Brisbane, QLD, AUS
General Interest
Nicknames Mel (olympics.com.au, 26 Jun 2012)
Memorable sporting achievement Competing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (smh.com.au, 05 Jun 2016)
Most influential person in career Her parents and coach Matt Beckenham. (rio2016.olympics.com.au, 01 Jun 2016; canberratimes.com.au, 07 Mar 2014)
Hero / Idol Australian sprinter Melinda Gainsford-Taylor. (melbreen.com, 24 Feb 2014)
Injuries She injured her calf, and had kidney and liver infections in 2013. (canberratimes.com.au, 16 May 2013; melbreen.com, 24 Feb 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto "Just because it has not been done yet does not mean it is impossible." (rio2016.olympics.com.au, 01 Jun 2016)
Awards and honours She won the Senator Margaret Reid Trophy, awarded to the outstanding junior athlete in the Australian Capital Territory [ACT] in Australia during the 2007/08 season. (athleticsact.org.au, 23 Jul 2010)
Ambitions To compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (smh.com.au, 05 Jun 2016)
Other information FIGHT FOR FUNDING
In 2013 she was overlooked for Athletics Australia's high performance programme, which meant she was no longer eligible for funding. High performance director Simon Nathan said the decision was made after considering whether Breen had the potential to be in the top eight athletes in the world. After breaking a 20-year-old national 100m record she began receiving funding again in 2014, but it was not as much as she had hoped for, with Athletics Australia stating that she needed to show consistent high-level performances to earn more. It was a theme that continued in 2015 when her funding was cut again. (smh.com.au, 28 Sep 2015; canberratimes.com.au, 26 Sep 2013; abc.net.au, 17 Apr 2014)

TOUGH WEEK
In 2013 in the same week she learned that her funding had been cut by Athletics Australia, her father called to tell her that her grandmother had passed away. In the same week, her cat also died, and her car was broken into and her training bag stolen. She admits the emotional strain at the time nearly caused her to give up on athletics to try converting to cycling or bobsleigh. "For your own federation to give you so little faith, it made me question everything. But it did harden me up, and sometimes it's fun to prove people wrong." (canberratimes.com.au, 07 Mar 2014)

LONDON APPEARANCE
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London she was the first Australian female sprinter to race at the Games since the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. (canberratimes.com.au, 07 Mar 2014)