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No funding for Melissa Breen after setting sprint record

New record-holder Melissa Breen.

New record-holder Melissa Breen. Photo: Melissa Adams

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.

Melinda Gainsford-Taylor.

Melinda Gainsford-Taylor. Photo: Janie Barrett

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.

Canberra's Melissa Breen breaks the Australian 100m record in 11.11 seconds during the ACT championship heats. Click for more photos

Melissa Breen breaks 100m record

Canberra's Melissa Breen breaks the Australian 100m record in 11.11 seconds during the ACT championship heats and also wins the final against Sally Pearson at the AIS track, Canberra. Photo: Melissa Adams

''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 time  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.''


  • What I find amazing is that its taken 20 years to break Gainsford-taylor time. you'd think we could find a runner that would go close to 11.00 or even break 11.00.Its disappointing.

    Date and time
    February 10, 2014, 12:33PM
    • Whats your PB Peter??.. 13-14-15??

      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 4:06PM
    • Australian atheletes don't have the dollars to get the best coaches, physio's psychologists...chemists.....

      The Sum
      Date and time
      February 11, 2014, 1:54PM
  • Well, no, she isn't the fastest Australian ever. That would be insane. I believe Matt Shirvington holds that distinction.

    Sa Kaeo, Thailand
    Date and time
    February 10, 2014, 12:45PM
    • No it isn't sad, it is just. People are losing their jobs in the thousands. Wasting money on athletes that add nothing to the economy would be sad.

      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 1:13PM
      • Agreed Ari. Sorry Mel. But i play sport every weekend and i have to pay to play mine just like most people do. Why should we pay for you too just because you're really good at it? Sorry but you've fallen victim to every other modern day sports star. Taxpayer funded, successfull in their chosen sport, gets a few corporate sponsors and makes some decent money, a tv commercial or two, a spot on an aussie reality tv show perhaps then not heard from. Do we want another Yana Pitmann carrying on and bickering with other athletes, Grant Hackett smashing up his house in a domestic, Steph Rice who was more interested in being photographed and tweeting than swimming, or a Thorpedo and end up in rehab. All got famous on the backs of taxpayer funded dollars. Some good memories of events but thats it. You arent the only person in Australia short of cash so ditch this attitude of 'im good at something, someone pay me to do it so i can make money and be a minor celeb'. I love sport too but do what most sportspeople and clubs do. Raise funds yourself.

        Date and time
        February 11, 2014, 8:15AM
    • I believe it's Patrick Johnson - 9.93, not shirvo.

      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 1:58PM
      • Trooper- firstly what's the point of the pedantic comment, we all know what Melissa meant when commenting at a time of great excitement. Second - you're comment is also inaccurate, Patrick Johnson holds the Australian MEN's 100 metres record (9.93 seconds) not Matt Shirvington.

        Date and time
        February 10, 2014, 2:35PM
        • Better to spend the pennies on hospitals, schools and other infrastructure than sporting scholarships.

          Date and time
          February 10, 2014, 3:27PM
          • Sports is good for the economy without it there is no influx in attendance at sport events. Its a great effort for anyone to beat existing records of such caliber and she has my support including financial donation if required to ensure that we promote a healthy, competitive lifestyle , something for which this great nation is known for all around the world!! but instead of positive information relevant to the topic, I read negative comments and a lack of support for people that achieve things most of us would not be able to achieve.

            Date and time
            February 10, 2014, 7:09PM

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