Melissa Breen of ACT is the new Australian 100m record holder after clocking 11.11 (w: +1.9) to blitz the field in her women’s 100m heat at the ACT Athletics Championships.
Eclipsing the previous national mark of Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, the performance also smashes Breen’s personal best by 0.14 seconds and ranks her within the top-eight women in the Commonwealth based on 2013 performances.
Returning to the track for the final in the early afternoon, Breen, who is coached my Matt Beckenham, edged out the Olympic hurdles champion Sally Pearson (second, 11.27) to win in 11.15 (w: +1.8). It is her first ever victory over Pearson in the short sprint from 30 starts.
“I felt awesome coming into this weekend, and I was excited about having the chance to run against Sally at home. We got here this morning and the weather was perfect with favourable winds and that pumped me up a lot. I was pretty nervous before my heat, I just really wanted to execute the race well,” Breen said.
“When I crossed the line the crowd got really loud and I didn’t know what was happening. They called it as 11.08 and I wasn’t sure how it would come back after it became official but when they announced the 11.11 I just didn’t know what to do. Matty B came over, and so did some friends and family, and it was just awesome.
“It is unbelievable to break Mel GT’s record. To do it here at my home track in front of family and friends was so amazing, and I couldn’t be happier with running a time like that after a lot of hard work. To edge out Sally is just a bonus. She’s an amazing athlete, she’s an Olympic champion, and now I can say that I have won against her after racing her since I was a junior.”
“It has been a long term process to get here. It’s been about rebuilding to now. Today was a big test for her,” Beckenham said.
“As a coach, I don’t know what the best result is – the Australian record which is awesome, or beating the Olympic champion in Sally who has always been first when they’ve raced previously. Both outcomes are a sign that she is continuing to strengthen as an athlete, and that she is becoming more capable of progressing through the rounds at a major championship.”
Excited by Breen’s run, Gainsford-Taylor, who has held the record since 1994, was quick to offer praise to the newly crowned fastest ever Australian woman.
“This is really exciting for Mel. I am so proud of her,” Gainsford-Taylor said.
“She has come into this season in great shape, and only yesterday I was chatting with the Canberra Times saying that she looked in the kind of form that might challenge the time. I thought that her and Sally racing each other would really step things up a bit, but in the end she ran the time in the heat which is fantastic.
“I am really, really happy for her. It’s great for her personally, but also for her coach Matty B, Australian sprinting, the sport of athletics as a whole and a new generation of athletes looking for someone to aspire too. The record has stood for 19 years so it was time for it to fall and Mel has done it.”
More results at athletics.com.au.