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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Beckenham still unsure about Sydney move as Breen becomes a coach

Beckenham still unsure about Sydney move as Breen becomes a coach

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Breen uses London to inspire

By Chris Dutton
Canberra Times
Date September 30, 2012

Olympic sprinter Melissa Breen helps out Thomas Ewart, 12 of Gowrie, Jack Clarke,12 of Melba and
Holly Abbey, 9 of Deakin. Photo: Melissa Adams

OLYMPIC sprinter Melissa Breen wants to use her London experience to inspire the next generation of track stars and she wants to do it in Canberra.

It is the smiling junior faces which are helping Breen cure her Olympic hangover after a draining 18 months.

But with uncertainty surrounding her coach Matt Beckenham's future in the capital, Breen has turned to her own coaching with a FIT4FUN program to show her commitment to Canberra and being an idol for aspiring athletes.

Beckenham is still waiting to hear from Athletics Australia about whether he will have to move his training base from Canberra to Sydney.

His preference is to remain in the capital and his argument has substance after guiding Breen, Lauren Boden and Brendan Cole to London.

Now he is starting a FIT4FUN program which will give juniors a chance to work with Olympians Breen and Boden.

It is a program they hope will develop more top-class athletes in Canberra and it is a sign of Beckenham, Breen and Boden's commitment to remaining at their training base.

Both Breen and Boden are qualified Level 3 coaches.

''It's definitely hard coming back to reality,'' 100-metre specialist Breen said.

''But we're back in training and I hope we're in Canberra for the rest of our careers … we're behind Matty the whole way and we'll stick with him.

''Both Lauren and I started in Little Athletics and I know I would have loved to have seen an Olympian training at my same track, to see we're not superheros or special.

''It shows [the junior athletes] that they can reach their dreams and hopefully it's something the kids can look up to.

''We want to keep kids in the sport and give them an insight to what it's like being an elite athlete.''

Breen is hungry for more success after returning from her debut Olympics. The 22-year-old had to ride an emotional rollercoaster just to book her ticket to London in her pursuit for an A-qualifying time.

Her race in front of 80,000 people lasted just 11 seconds, but it lit an Olympic fire inside and she is already planning for Rio in 2016.

But the London journey took its toll and when she returned to Canberra, Breen slept for up to 15 hours a day as she attempted to adjust to ''normal life''.

With her energy back, Breen is now ready to throw herself into coaching with her next race not planned until December.

''It's definitely different on the coaching side of things, it gives you a new perspective and tolerance,'' Breen said.

''You get a new understanding of what Matty has put in for us and it's definitely helping my understanding of my own involvement in the sport and my event.

''I've had a taste of [Olympics] now, I'm still tired all the time but it's a great motivator for me to keep going forward.''

The FIT4FUN program will officially begin on October 2 and be held each Tuesday and Thursday.

It is aimed at athletes eight years old and above.

Boden started working with Beckenham when she was 14 and has spent the past decade with the same coach.

If Beckenham's Athletics Australia contract is not renewed, his preference is to stay in Canberra and he would continue to build his private coaching business.

''I really hope that [Athletics Australia] can see the benefits in having me remain in Canberra and working with my current athletes and also developing some more Olympians,'' Beckenham said.

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