Sport

Canberra sprinter Melissa Breen rounds out Commonwealth Games preparation with blistering time

Canberra sprinter Melissa Breen will fly to Glasgow confident of her Commonwealth Games dream after conquering the capital's chilly temperatures and sleeting rain.

Melissa Breen, centre, ran an impressive 11.35 seconds in wet conditions at the AIS on Sunday.
Melissa Breen, centre, ran an impressive 11.35 seconds in wet conditions at the AIS on Sunday. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Breen got the perfect farewell gift when she raced on Sunday for the first time in more than a month and surprised herself when she stopped the clock at 11.35 seconds, just 0.24 seconds outside of her Australian 100 metres record.

Breen used the low-key meet at the Australian Institute of Sport track as the perfect way to finish her Australian preparation before flying to Europe on Tuesday.

Melissa Breen in action at the AIS track.
Melissa Breen in action at the AIS track. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Despite racing in long tights and a long-sleeve top, Breen still delivered another Commonwealth Games A-qualifier and hopes it is a sign of things to come.

"I'm extremely happy, it's another A-qualifier. It's pretty awesome to do that in Canberra, by yourself and in 6-degree temperatures," she said.

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"It's the beginning of getting back into races. It makes heading overseas really exciting now. I'll get exposure to different competition overseas and, hopefully, it will be a bit warmer."

Breen has one more training session in Canberra on Monday before she packs her bags for Commonwealth Games redemption.

Four years ago, a 19-year-old Breen struggled with the pressure at the Commonwealth Games in Dehli and missed the final. But since then she has competed at the Olympic Games and surpassed Melinda Gainsford-Taylor's 20-year Australian 100 metres record in February.

Making her run on Sunday even more impressive was the fact she was contemplating a cautious approach and avoiding the track in case of injury.

"It was awful out there; it was so cold, but at least it wasn't as bad as Saturday," Breen laughed. "It's not going to be this cold over there. I was weighing up the pros and cons of it, but I felt like running. I had six layers on, I had tights and two pairs of tracksuit pants while I was warming up.

"I'm very happy to run that time. Yes, the wind [1.8] was behind me, but to do that in this weather is great. It's hard to sprint when it's this cold and it reinforces everything is on the right path."

Breen's training partner and 400 metre hurdler Lauren Boden did not race at the ACT high-noon meet, but fellow Commonwealth Games team member and javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Roberts got in some last-minute competition.

Breen, Boden and coach Matt Beckenham will fly to Europe on Tuesday and compete in Belgium before going to the Diamond League.

The Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3.

"We train in the cold, so it wasn't a shock to the system to race in it," Breen said. "Getting sick in the rain was more of a worry than injury. I just wanted to make sure I was healthy when I stepped on the plane on Tuesday.

"I've got one more session, a massage and then pack my bags. It's definitely sinking in that the fun is about to begin."