Setback for Breen

Olivia Breen. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131725-2)
Olivia Breen. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131725-2)
Runners stream past HMS Victory in the Historic Dockyard

Great South Run

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Olivia Breen will be aiming to come back stronger and faster after suffering the first disappointment of her fledgling career.

The talented 16-year-old shot to fame at the London 2012 Paralympics last summer as she picked up a bronze medal in the T35-T38 4x100m relay.

But the City of Portsmouth sprinter’s hopes of collecting another medal at the IPC World Championships in Lyon ended in disappointment after two fifth places in the T38 100m and 200m events.

Breen, who improved her personal best to 13.89 in the 100m recently, was unable to find her best form and clocked 14.35 in the final.

But she would have had to produce the race of her life by some margin to get among the medals after the bronze was taken in 13.55 by Junfei Chen of China, while Breen’s British team-mate Sophie Hahn smashed the world record (13.10) ahead of Brazil’s Veronica Hipolita (13.26).

Her mother Helen said: ‘She was pleased with the fifth in the 200m and that went well.

‘But she was hoping for better in the 100m and she was disappointed.

‘She has run a lot faster than that this year and was hoping to come out and run a personal best.

‘Her 100m has been going really well this year but it just didn’t happen for her on the day for whatever reason.

‘It’s onwards and upwards and I’m sure she will learn from the experience and it will stand her in good stead in the future.

‘She ran a good heat and came into the race feeling good but it’s just a shame it didn’t happen for her on the day when it needed to.’

Breen clocked 29.36 in her T38 200m final to claim a creditable fifth spot.

But she did it after a poor start – something she struggled with throughout the championship.

Helen said: ‘She didn’t get good starts in any of her races really.

‘Then in the 100m, it was a struggle.

‘She was between two very good starters and just didn’t look as strong coming through after that.’

But the mark of a top athlete is how they respond to disappointment and Breen, who turns 17 tomorrow, has the grit and determination to bounce back.

Helen said: ‘It’s the nature of sport sometimes.

‘Last year at the Paralympics, there were no expectations and it was all fun.

‘This year, there was a bit more expectation on her.

‘She was disappointed and upset but she will have a couple of weeks off and get ready for winter training after that.

‘This is the first real setback she has had but her team-mates have been very supportive.

‘Good athletes have to respond to these kinds of setbacks.

‘When things don’t go right for you, you have to work harder and get back.’

She added: ‘She was a bit upset but after a couple of hours she had some chips and a bar of chocolate and felt better.

‘She’ll have a break but she’ll be back into it in no time.’