Olivia Breen: Wales sprinter’s shock at historic Commonwealth Games success | Athletics News

Sprinter Olivia Breen became the first woman to win a gold medal in athletics for Wales at the Commonwealth Games in 32 years after triumphing in the T37/38 100 meters final in Birmingham on Tuesday.

Last update: 08/22/03 6:17 p.m.

Olivia Breen of Wales celebrates after winning the women's 100m T37/38 final at the Commonwealth Games

Olivia Breen of Wales celebrates after winning the women’s 100m T37/38 final at the Commonwealth Games

Olivia Breen admitted her shock at having made her own Commonwealth Games history with her gold medal in the T37/38 100 metres.

The 26-year-old became the first athletics competitor from Wales to win gold since 1990 when she beat her British Paralympic team-mate Sophie Hahn in the final at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on Tuesday.

Former Sky Scholar Breen clocked a personal best 12.83 seconds to finish ahead of Hahn and bronze medalist Rhiannon Clarke of Australia and was left speechless after finding out how long it had been since another Welsh athlete had not achieved this success.

“I saw this in the morning at 2 a.m. and I was like ‘holy moly, wow!'” Breen said Sky Sports News. “I was quite shocked when I saw this and quite baffled, but it’s an incredible honor.

“Obviously it’s been 10 years of hard work, but I knew I was in good shape and I wanted to do it on the day.

“I beat Sophie a few weeks ago in open competition and I was confident that I could do it.

“Some people have good days and bad days, but I’m really glad it all happened in front of a local audience, friends and family. It was just amazing.”

This year’s Commonwealth Games feature eight parasport categories among the athletics events and Breen, who also won gold in the T38 long jump at the 2018 Games on the Gold Coast, is delighted that she and other para-athletes can play on this organize.

However, she is convinced that the Paralympic Games, in which she participated in 2012 and 2020, should remain a stand-alone event.

“It’s really good and it’s a good slant for people to see Paralympic sport,” Breen said. “It’s a great atmosphere, and everyone was so nice to us and supportive.

“I really think it’s good to have the Paralympics and the Olympics separate, but the Commonwealth Games are special because they have the two together and it’s a great atmosphere.

I’m really glad it all came together in front of a local crowd, friends and family. It was just amazing.

Olivia Breen on her Commonwealth Games gold medal

“When the Olympics are over, the Paralympics are a month later and for people it’s really important to learn about disabilities.

“For us too, the Olympic guys are really good, but we do things in a different way and it’s important for the public to see that too and for us to have their support.”

Breen’s success comes at a time when women’s sport is in the spotlight thanks to the success of the recent Euro 2022 women’s football tournament.

She has seen a lot of progress for women’s sport and for the disabled since she started competing and while acknowledging there is still a lot to do, Breen encouraged the girls to try as many sports as possible.

Breen alongside Sophie Hahn and Rhiannon Clarke on the podium in Birmingham

Breen alongside Sophie Hahn and Rhiannon Clarke on the podium in Birmingham

“It’s getting better, but there’s still room for improvement and hopefully in the next few years there will be a big improvement that would be really exciting to see,” Breen said. “I think it’s an exciting future for us.

“It’s good for young girls to try all the different sports because you don’t know which one you’ll like until you try. Do whatever you can and find your passion, and never give up because it will come.

“It took me 10 years to win my first gold in the 100m. There will be days when it’s like ‘Why am I doing this? I can’t be bothered’ – do- trust me, keep doing it and your time will come.”

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