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No funding for Melissa Breen after setting sprint record

Australian sprinting great Melinda Gainsford-Taylor admits ''it's sad'' the sport doesn't have enough money to fund new national 100 metres record holder Melissa Breen.

Athletics Australia will spruik Breen as a future star at a press conference on Monday despite overlooking the Canberra sprinter last year in its new athlete funding model.

Breen broke Gainsford-Taylor's 20-year 100 metre record on Sunday, setting a new mark of 11.11 seconds with a scorching run at the ACT championships.

But while the Olympian's career is on the rise, Athletics Australia opted not to give her any financial backing.

''It's sad that our sport hasn't got enough money and funds to help people like [Breen],'' Gainsford-Taylor said.


''I just hope this creates attention that Mel can get the sponsorship as well so she can reach her potential.

''You see so much money in other sports, it would be nice for Mel to get that help as well.

''You always need financial help, it's as simple as that. It is a shame, to get the funding you have to get the medals but to get the medals you need the funding.

''But you don't want that to take away from her performance and how well she's done.''

Breen's new Australian record timeĀ  of 11.11 seconds would have earned her a spot in the semi-finals at the Olympic Games in London two years ago and the world championship semi-finals last year.

Breen lost out in an overhaul of sport and athlete funding in Australia last year.

Athletics Australia deemed it was not realistic the 23-year-old could make the final of an Olympic Games or a world championships in the next four years.

Breen made her Olympic debut at London two years ago.

Athletics Australia will review its contracting system after the national championships in April.

Breen has already run two Commonwealth Games A-qualifying times this year, but admitted losing her funding ''messed with me massively''.

''When that decision came to fruition, I didn't train for a week,'' Breen said.

''It messed with me massively. For your own federation to give you little faith, it made me question everything. It did harden me up and sometimes it's fun to prove people wrong.''

Breen has recovered and sent a message to national selectors in the best possible way.

Breen (11.11 seconds) beat Gainsford-Taylor's Australian record mark of 11.12 seconds which was set in 1994.

There were times Gainsford-Taylor, who is an Australian selector, thought her record would never be broken with the lack of female Australian sprinters.

But now she is backing Breen to break the 11 second barrier.

''I am so happy for Mel. I wasn't surprised because she has been showing such great form,'' Gainsford-Taylor said.

''Obviously you love to have your own record, but I wanted it to be broken.

''I didn't know it would take this long. But it's exciting now, everyone's chatting about it and it's just what the sport needs.

''I was one of the selectors who picked her [as a discretionary selection] for the Olympics, it was based on potential. I could see she had talent. She can only improve.''

Breen will compete in Perth this weekend as she continues her preparation for the Australian titles.

''It was very emotional and the tears show how much sacrifice and dedication it took to get that,'' Breen said.

''I'm the fastest Australian ever. That's just insane.''


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