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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Melissa Breen felt bullied before Commonwealth Games

Melissa Breen felt bullied before Commonwealth Games

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Melissa Breen felt bullied before Commonwealth Games

By Jon Tuxworth
Sports reporter at The Canberra Times
Date August 16, 2014

Canberra sprinter Melissa Breen has said she felt bullied in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games, and confirmed she will voice her concerns to Athletics Australia as part of a review following the Eric Hollingsworth saga.

Athletics Australia president David Grace QC has called on all athletes to ''put up'' by going on the record with any problems in a survey given to all athletes about the Games.

Head coach Hollingsworth was sent home in disgrace after his explosive statement criticising Australia's most prominent athlete, Sally Pearson, shortly before she defended her 100m hurdles title in Glasgow.

The review will look at all aspects of the Australian athletics team's preparations after their eight gold medals in Glasgow was the nation's lowest Commonwealth Games tally since 1978.

Speaking on ABC Radio on Saturday, Breen said she was keen to voice her opinion without fear of retribution.

"It's important to have this review process where everyone can speak their mind freely without being bullied or anything like that,'' Breen said.

"I think it's important we have a review process, obviously it didn't go to plan and eventuate the way it should have.

"Everybody needs to be accountable for their actions, including myself, as well as team management at Athletics Australia.''

Asked if she felt bullied at any stage, Breen said: "I guess that would be a good way to sum up the feeling I had over the last six months, and before then.

"Hopefully a new era of Athletics Australia will be shown after this process, and a much more healthy environment.''

Breen is no stranger to locking horns with the sport's governing body after its decision not to award her full funding, despite having broken the long-standing 100 metres national record.

Athletics Australia officials challenged Breen, yet to make a final at a big event, to perform under pressure in the big moments.

She missed the final at Glasgow, finishing fifth in her semi-final and 11th overall.

"I'm still disappointed, obviously, but in the whole contest of things I've had an amazing year,'' Breen said.

"I've been able to achieve something I've wanted to do my whole life [national record], and I'm really excited about the next four years.

"Yes, I said I wanted to make the final, and I didn't do my job out there in the semi-final, unfortunately.''

Breen admitted she had yet to master producing when it matters most at big events.

"I put myself in the best head space I thought I was capable of, but it wasn't enough,'' she said.

"It's about learning to compete under those pressure in major championships, it's something I need to master the next four years.

"I don't feel like I was freaking out at Glasgow, and I was really in shock after the semi-final.''

"Let's Go While We're Young"

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