Supreme Breen close to Paralympic call-up

Olivia Breen bagged two bronze medals at the IPC European Championships
Olivia Breen bagged two bronze medals at the IPC European Championships
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Olivia Breen’s meteoric rise to prominence continued with a double medal haul at the IPC European Championships.

And the City of Portsmouth starlet is now on the brink of Paralympic selection – as the youngest member of Team GB.

Breen underlined her amazing potential by collecting two bronze medals at the championships in Holland.

That has put her in line for a selection call-up for London 2012, with the 15-year-old due to find out if she will make it to the Games next week.

Breen’s success came in the 100m and 200m as she registered personal best times of 14.10sec and 29.07 respectively.

It has been an amazing rise for Breen, who has cerebral palsy, with the sprint talent not even being given a disability classification until January.

That hasn’t held her back, though, as she quickly came to the attention of UK Athletics bosses.

Her displays led to an international classification as a T38 competitor, paving the way for her Euro success and opening the door for the Paralympics.

Breen’s mother, Helen, explained it has been a whirlwind period for the talent, as she develops at a pacy rate.

She said: ‘It’s all happened really quickly.

‘Livvy got classified in January but it really kicked off in April when the season started. It was then that we realised how quick she is in the disabled arena.

‘She’s been running for City since 2010. But she was then approached for a talent day and really enjoyed it.

‘She was very, very competitive in that forum so we got the classification. Then she raced in Basingstoke in April and shaved quite a bit off her time.

‘That saw her approached by UK Athletics.

‘It looked like the selection list was closed for the Paralympics, but they rang back and said they were going to re-open it. That was great.

‘She is going to be the baby if she is selected.

‘There is a great camaraderie among the squad and it is an inspirational environment to be in.

‘Each time Livvy is racing she is getting PBs.

‘Her regime has increased so she is getting stronger, fitter and better in each race.

‘Her coach has described her as phenomenal.

‘City of Portsmouth and her coach have been great and they’ve really embraced her.

‘She’s only 15. She has always loved running but it is now becoming her life.

‘Livvy is getting better and better and it’s pretty exciting.’

Breen is set to find out if she is will achieve Paralympic selection next Monday. Then there is a trip to Crystal Palace to take part in a Diamond League meet on July 14.

Breen is being earmarked for a possible 4x100m berth this summer – with one eye on continuing her progress to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The whole process has provided a confidence booster for the young sprint queen.

Her mother said: ‘It looks as if she is going to be doing something with her life she loves.

‘I think they are also looking forward to 2016, when she will hopefully be at the top of her game. We weren’t sure what her future held. We are all very, very proud of her.

‘She has never been short of confidence, but this has happened and she has more belief in herself.’