Paralympic queen Breen given hero’s welcome

Jo Pavey

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City of Portsmouth gave a hero’s welcome to returning Paralympic star Olivia Breen.

Breen was given the red-carpet treatment as she was greeted by her club-mates on her return to training this week.

That was after an unforgettable Games for the 16-year-old as he stormed to a bronze medal in London.

That 4x100m success was on top of the City starlet making finals in both the 100m and 200m in her T38 classification.

Breen, who has cerebral palsy, was swamped by young team-mates as he turned out at the Mountbatten Centre.

The sprint queen proudly showed off her medal before she got back to work.

Breen’s coach, Leroy Elliott, spoke of City’s pride in Breen after all she has achieved.

He said: ‘It’s a complete honour to be able to coach Olivia and we are all so pleased for her.

‘It was the first time we had all been back at the club on Tuesday after a month off, including Olivia.

‘So we thought it would be good to do something to welcome her back.

‘She has put Portsmouth on the map by representing us and putting on such a good show.

‘Olivia more than rose to the occasion on every level.

‘Not many of the children would have had the chance to touch a medal like that before.

‘Olivia is a happy-go-lucky person and is so sweet and giving.

‘So it was good to see her with the younger children at the club.

‘She had the chance to talk to them in her own backyard and answer questions on her experience.

‘Now she is back in training and there are the World Championships next year.

‘Olivia was a club athlete before and her training was associated with that.

‘We have to step things up but there are plans afoot for that.

‘We are all very proud and delighted for her.’

Breen’s success has seen her gain plenty of attention in the wake of the Paralympics.

And there is a big date on the horizon later this year after she was invited to attend a reception held by the Queen along with all of her fellow medallists.

Breen has taken her higher profile in her stride, however, and is keeping the focus on improving her times moving forward.

And there may even be space to take on another event in the coming months, as her mother, Helen, explained.

She said: ‘It’s been a busy time for Livvy. She’s not seen everyone at Portsmouth for months so she loved it that everyone made a fuss.

‘There has been a lot going on and a lot to dwell on.

‘But she is now starting to train again and will also train with UK Athletics once a month.

‘And she is thinking about starting the long jump as well.

‘She has to work on building her core strength and stamina and also has the blocks to master.

‘We’ll have a lot of help from her coach, Leroy, for that.

‘He has been a big help and we have a lot to thank him for.

‘He doesn’t get paid for what he does. It’s a labour of love and we appreciate that.’