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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Melissa Breen looking forward to the Sally Pearson challenge

Melissa Breen looking forward to the Sally Pearson challenge

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Sprinter Melissa Breen takes on Sally Pearson in Queanbeyan ahead of Commonwealth campaign

By Lee Gaskin
Canberra Times
November 22, 2013

Sally Pearson and Melissa Breen.

Canberra sprinter Melissa Breen has world champion Sally Pearson in her sights and wants to use an explosive summer as a lead-in to next year's Commonwealth Games.

But first Breen has a date with the Queanbeyan Gift, and the chance to take home the richest footrace for women in Australia. The London Olympian will compete for the lion's share of the $16,000 prizemoney in the women's event at the two-day carnival, which starts on Saturday.

Breen has dealt with the disappointment of missing out on funding under the new Athletics Australia contract system and is determined to prove she can crack the elusive 11-second barrier.

Having Pearson, the world 100 metres hurdles champion, competing against her in the 100 event is going to push her even further. ''She wants to run the 100 and the hurdles at the Commonwealth Games,'' Breen said. ''We're competitors, but we're also really good friends. To have Sal through that journey into the Commonwealth Games in the 100 will be great. Hopefully this season we'll both be injury free and have some good battles over summer.''

This year Breen lowered her personal best to 11.25 seconds, but it wasn't enough to secure funding under the new AA system after it determined that she wasn't a realistic chance of making the final of the women's 100 at the world championships or the 2016 Olympic Games.

''I've learnt to put that stuff aside and refocus on the goals that myself and Matt [coach Matt Beckenham] have put together since the Commonwealth Games in 2010,'' she said. ''I'm definitely not done.

''Training has been a bit of a challenge because we've been on the grass while the AIS track is being relaid, but it's been amazing the amount of support I've had.''

More than 500 runners will converge on Queanbeyan for the Gift - considered to be the third most prestigious event of its kind in the country behind the Stawell Gift and the Bay Sheffield * - for a share of the $40,000 prizemoney.

Although Breen won the women's Stawell Gift in 2012, she knows she faces an uphill battle to overcome the rest of the field in the traditional handicap format.

* Looks like someone has been reading Protrack!

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