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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Melissa Breen shattered by funding snub

Melissa Breen shattered by funding snub

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1 Melissa Breen shattered by funding snub on Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 pm



Breen to run on after setback

By Lee Gaskin
Canberra Times
September 26, 2013

A shattered Melissa Breen has vowed to overcome the biggest hurdle in her career after the London Olympian was overlooked for Athletics Australia's high performance program.

The two-time national 100-metre and 200-metre women's champion was a notable omission from the 104 able-bodied and para-athletes included in the National Athlete Support Structure funding list, released on Wednesday.

Breen's training partner Lauren Boden and middle-distance runner Brett Robinson were both awarded with international status, while fellow Canberra athlete, 1500-metre runner Zoe Buckman, is in the world class two category.

Breen's personal best time of 11.25 seconds, set in March, is inside the standard for the development category, but it was deemed she could not improve enough to make the women's 100-metre final at the world championships or the 2016 Olympics.

It comes just over a year after Breen was granted a discretionary selection for the London Games because of her potential to be a finalist in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

''I am extremely disappointed at the outcome,'' Breen said.

''I will look at all options going forward and really hope something good comes out of this.''

As part of the selection criteria, athletes have to have the ''realistic capacity'' to reach the top eight of their event within four years.

Breen finished 27th at last year's Olympics in a time of 11.34 seconds, and fifth (11.47 seconds) in her heat at this year's world titles.

She would have needed to run a time of 11.08 seconds to have made the final - a gulf too big to cross, Athletics Australia high performance director, Simon Nathan, said.

''The decision is the same in every case: based on what we know about the athlete, are they realistically moving towards a top eight in the future? With the evidence we have right now, we can't see that [for Mel],'' Nathan said.

''She's in an incredibly competitive event and she's someone who has been to a number of major championships and finds that environment very challenging.

''It means she almost has to be even better to reproduce that at the championships.''

Athletes can have their case reviewed and can also be added to the funding program after next year's national titles.

The program has come about after changes to how sports receive government funding under the Australian Institute of Sport's Winning Edge initiative.

''We need to perform at the Olympics and the world championships, or the sport is at risk,'' Nathan said.

''The resources that we have, we have to put into the best bets.''

Buckman, Boden and Robinson were rewarded for breakout performances at this year's world championships.

Buckman finished seventh in the final of the women's 1500 metres, Boden made the semi-finals of the women's 400-metre hurdles, while Robinson showed his potential to qualify for the final of the men's 5000 metres.

Olympic 100-metre hurdles champion Sally Pearson and para-athlete world championship triple gold medallist Evan O'Hanlon are among seven athletes on the highest world class one level

2 Re: Melissa Breen shattered by funding snub on Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:45 pm


''She's in an incredibly competitive event and she's someone who has been to a number of major championships and finds that environment very challenging.

''It means she almost has to be even better to reproduce that at the championships.''

Pretty harsh.

It's disappointing that they won't fund her even though she is leaps and bounds ahead of any other Australian female in the 100m atm. Looks like Nathan is taking a similar approach to Eric Hollingsworth in regards to sprinting.
ERIC HOLLINGSWORTH: We're a small nation. We have to complete on the technical events - things likes pole vault, the long jump, etcetera. Sprinting - at the end of the day, we've only ever had one man under 10 seconds. The bar has been raised by the Jamaicans and the Americans over the last few years, particularly in the sprints, and the sprinters haven't come up to that line. It's as simple as that.

3 Re: Melissa Breen shattered by funding snub on Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:04 pm


So the message being sent to all junior sprinters here is give it away . as you will never be able to mix it with the Jamaicans et al. Great way to grow the sport

4 Re: Melissa Breen shattered by funding snub on Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:00 am


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
When will you people learn. It is a very simple equation. There is only so much money in the pie. Thus, you have two options.

1. Grow the pie: Advocate for more money being given to athletes to achieve individual success.

2. Tell us which athletes you think are not deserving of financial support.

We take for granted sometimes the absolute luxury we have in terms of funding individual athletic achievements which so often result in no net benefit. Every year tens of thousands of researchers miss out on funding grants to do research in life-saving and life-changing medical and social fields. This research has the capacity to have an enormous direct benefit to thousands, if not, tens of thousands of people.

Whilst I love sport, there is something problematic about public tax-payer subsidised athletes whereby taxes are being used to pay an athlete to train. No doubt we live in a globalised competitive sporting climate and the British lottery system, and the American sponsorship market, sets the bar unrealistically high. However, the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed the idea of the 'General Will', which broadly outlined the idea that we should pursue what is in the interest of 'the people', even though that may sometimes come at the cost of the individual.

With regards to the funding of Breen and others on the cusp of government funding, we must genuinely ask ourselves if this is in the 'general will'.

5 Re: Melissa Breen shattered by funding snub on Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:33 pm


Just wondering what sort of funding are we talking about. Most of us know the Josh Ross story and how he did it tough financially, with many others in the position. Are there managers or people helping our athlete's to get the funding help they need? Imagine, if the funding from sponsorship fit the criteria of a small business what a great return if that athlete made a final at the Olympics etc.

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