City of Portsmouth’s Olivia Breen insisted she is nearing her long jump peak after setting a lifetime best in her new discipline at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea yesterday.
The 18-year-old’s favoured event is the 100m, but after soaring to fourth place in the long jump at the Commonwealth Games, Breen wasn’t about to let such momentum slip.
The 2012 Paralympian not only matched that position as she turned her attentions to the Europeans in Wales, but also recorded a new legal personal best of 4.20m – all while jumping into a strong headwind.
And the talented teenager, who runs in the 100m today, believes the key to success was an improved focus having been swept up by the occasion at the Commonwealth Games.
‘I’m really happy I got a legal personal best so I couldn’t have ask for any more – and I kept more focused this time,’ said Breen, who had jumped 4.22m with an illegal wind back in April.
‘It’s been different because you have the big park and everything at the Commonwealth Games but it was nice to have my family next to the long jump pit here.
‘I wasn’t that focused at the Commonwealths because I was chatting a bit but I haven’t been learning long jump for very long.
‘And with cerebral palsy it’s hard to get the technique right from sprint to long jump. I only started it in January so it hasn’t been long at all.
‘I’ve had to get ready and get all the qualifying distances.
‘Fourth is quite frustrating again but I got a PB and hopefully at the World Championships next year I’ll do well and be jumping better.’
Breen, who won 4x100m relay bronze at London 2012, isn’t short of support, with Sainsbury’s a proud sponsor of the British Paralympic Association and its athletes all the way to Rio 2016.
And though conditions may rule out a second personal best of the week in her more established 100m, Breen has her crosshairs aimed at the podium places.
‘I’m hoping to get a personal best but I doubt that I can because of the wind,’ added Breen.
‘I’ve love to get a medal, it would be a dream come true.
‘I’ve got my fingers crossed.’
n Sainsbury’s is proud to support British Athletics through the Summer Series events and is committed to helping young people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. For more information visit sainsburys.co.uk/legacy