Sports awards have ‘wow’ factor for Breen

Sportswoman of the year Olivia Breen is congratulated by her mother Helen. Picture: Steve Reid (133367-614)
Sportswoman of the year Olivia Breen is congratulated by her mother Helen. Picture: Steve Reid (133367-614)
Ali Watson  and Katy Bradley scan finishing tokens for first time parkrunners Rebecca Howell and Jess Gwynn

Gallery: Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun 149

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Rising-star Olivia Breen showed she has the ‘wow’ factor after her 2012 News Sports Awards success.

City of Portsmouth’s Paralympic talent collected two honours on a night to remember at the annual presentation evening.

The 16-year-old was runner-up in the outstanding contribution to disabled sport category.

But the youngest member of GB’s Paralympic squad went one better when she was named sportswoman of the year.

The accolades come after an incredible year which saw Breen storm to a double bronze medal haul at the IPC European Championship in Sweden.

That was an amazing achievement – but then came the summer Games in London where she shone in front of the world.

Breen made it to both of her finals in the 100m and 200m – and then charged to a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay along with her team-mates.

The sprint queen admitted her latest honour was the icing on the cake of an incredible period.

Breen said: ‘I’m really happy at what I’ve achieved and now winning these awards.

‘I never thought I would win sportswoman of the year, so I was really pleased to get that.

‘It’s really good to see other people inspired and it’s really good to see people enjoying sport.

‘My coaches have been absolutely amazing and helped me so much.

‘They have been so supportive and worked really hard for me. I’ve got a good team behind me.

‘It’s all happened quickly for me. It’s been like “wow”.’

Breen now enters a busy period with plenty of international competition on the horizon – as well as her exams.

It’s easy to forget after all her success that she wasn’t even classified as a disability athlete until January last year.

‘I’ve loved it and did the best I could to be selected for the Games,’ said Breen.

‘I got two bronze medals at the IPC European Championships and GB knew they wanted me then.

‘The best day of my life was July 9 when I got the letter saying I was going to the Games.

‘I’d been to school and then came home to open it.

‘Now I’ve got the World Championships which I’m training for and in 2014 I’ve got the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

‘And then there is another World Championship in India – and the year after that is Rio.’

Breen pipped another Paralympian, Emma Wiggs, who was sportswoman of the year runner-up.

Wiggs was given the honour of a call-up to the sitting volleyball team – and then proudly captained her side on home soil.

And then there’s the Portsmouth Sharks member’s tireless coaching work in local communities, as she spreads the gospel of disabled sport.