Golden girl Olivia Breen from Liphook bags Commonwealth sprint gold

Thursday 4th August 2022 1:54 pm
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Liphook sprinter Olivia Breen chased down English rival Sophie Hahn in a spectacular T37/38 100m win at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Paralympian Breen, 26, overhauled defending champion Hahn to win in a personal-best 12.83 seconds.

Paralympic gold medallist Hahn, who finished in 13.09 seconds, slumped to the track as Breen, a former Bohunt student, shrieked in delight.

Breen’s win secured the first track and field medal of the Games and Wales’ third gold of Birmingham 2022.

It was also the first medal by a Welsh woman in track athletics at the Commonwealth Games since Kay Morley won the 100m hurdles in 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Breen, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was two, said: “I am absolutely over the moon.

“Ten years’ hard work and I’ve never run this fast. I am really happy.

“I just can’t believe it and I want to thank my team for believing in me.

“Obviously this year I’ve had a really good season and Sophie has been a really good rival for years and I knew that this would come – and it did!”

In last summer’s Tokyo Games in Japan, Hahn defended her T38 title in impressive style, with Breen a distant seventh.

Initially at Birmingham on Tuesday evening (August 2) it looked as though it would be a rerun of the Tokyo result.

From the starting gun, Hahn drove out of the blocks and led at 30 metres.

But Breen built speed and in the last third powered past Hahn, raising her arms aloft as she crossed the finishing line first, while defending champion Hahn was left devastated on the track.

BBC commentater Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said: “I thought Breen had pushed it too hard and would fade, but she kept going – and I could see Sophie Hahn beginning to tie up.”

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